Mike Judge is a busy dude. He creates animated TV shows, voices the characters, writes his own movies and directs them to boot. And, uh, the guy’s got to sleep too. So the arrival of a new Judge film is an uncommon and joyous occasion — he’s only had one film hit theaters since 1999’s “Office Space.”
But his second post-“Office” flick, the Jason Bateman-starring “Extract,” is in theaters Friday (September 4) and sees him returning, after the high-concept comedy “Idiocracy,” to the familiar ground of workplace comedy.
And what about you? You’re busy too, have to catch a couple winks every so often, don’t have oodles of time to follow every development of Judge’s newest film — luckily it’s our job to do the cinematic labor for you. Behold, MTV’s cheat sheet for “Extract” — all the backstory, videos, photos and interviews you need before you settle into your cubicle, er, theater seat and take in the funny.
Before the Factory, There Was the Office
TPS reports, “O” faces, Chotchkie’s, Michael Bolton fans, Initech, the Bobs, the red stapler — if you don’t know what any of this means, you’re just a bad person. Run out and rent “Office Space” before you take another breath. Judge’s portrait of office drones and inept execs is, purely and hilariously, a classic.
A decade later, the writer/director is giving us another comedy set in a workplace, but this time his main character is a flavor-extract factory owner dealing with his own set of managerial and relationship woes. But like “Space,” “Extract” is chock-full of an eccentric cast of loony worker bees, random buddies and wackadoodle get-rich-quick schemes.
The film has been on our radar since word of the project first dropped in the spring of 2008. Judge stopped by the MTV News offices in May to explain why he cast Bateman in the leading role.
“I’d written it a long time ago, actually, like seven years ago or something, and when I first saw ’Arrested Development’ on DVD, I just thought, ’Man, this is the guy, this guy is really good,’ ” he said. “He’s able to be funny and likable and just be the rock that holds everything down while there’s all these crazy characters around him.”
Kristen Wiig signed on to play Bateman’s sweatpants-wearing wife and Mila Kunis was cast as a conniving temp worker.
“I swear to God, it’s really funny,” Kunis told MTV News after wrapping production in October.
Ben Affleck had also agreed to play the supporting role of Bateman’s bartending buddy. “I think Ben, because he’s a good-looking, tall, strapping guy, he’s always been cast as the leading man,” Judge said this past June. “I like him when he’s a character actor, like ’Dazed and Confused.’ He read the [’Extract’] script and wanted to do it and I met with him and we had a read-through and he just killed it. I’ve been editing and watching these scenes hundreds of times and it still makes me laugh.”
In the run-up to Comic-Con, we published an exclusive “Extract” photo of a straggly-haired Affleck tending bar for a stressed-out Bateman. Days before the Con, we posted an exclusive clip in which both these guys meet Kunis’ character for the first time. Then at the movie fest itself, Bateman and Kunis discussed their relative levels of hotness and Judge admitted how he actually came up with the idea for the film.
“I thought about the type of guy who hires a gigolo to get his wife to cheat on him so he won’t feel guilty [if he cheats],” Judge explained about a situation in which Bateman’s character finds himself. “And how super-hot girls [like Kunis’ character] live by a different set of rules than the rest of us, and what they could get away with if they really wanted to.”
As Judge explained to us, after supervising a large staff on his MTV show “Beavis and Butt-head,” he came to have a fresh perspective about the role of managers in a workplace.
“[’Extract’] is the bosses’ point of view,” he said. “I think I suddenly became more sympathetic to all these bosses I’ve had . I wanted to write something sympathetic to the guy who had to run the place.”
Now that Judge has captured both ends of the corporate ladder on film, will he again return to workplace comedy? Not anytime soon. His next plan is to produce a big-screen adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Brigadier Gerard” stories.
“I don’t plan on jumping right into writing or directing anything,” he told us in June.
Don’t miss Kurt Loder’s review of “All About Steve,” also new in theaters this week.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Extract.”
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