I’m a Jason Bateman fan. I spent a solid 12 months of my life watching episodes of Arrested Development every single night as I fell asleep. I was very disappointed when I took the “Which Arrested Development Character Are You” Facebook quiz and wasn’t Michael Bluth. I’m also a huge Mike Judge fan — I mean, I liked Office Space before liking Office Space was cool. Given my love for both of them, you could imagine my excitement when I saw the trailers for Extract, a film that was marketed as a sort of “Office Space in a factory.”
If I were hoping for something with the witty dialog and intellectual rigor of Office Space, then Extract would have left me disappointed. What I was hoping for was a fun, sassy romp with some great characters and clever antics, and I got that.
Jason Bateman plays Joel Reynolds, an affable guy who invented a process for creating high-quality food flavorings (extracts) and has built a very successful business manufacturing them. He is in a dull marriage with his wife, played by Kristen Wiig of SNL fame. If you saw the trailer, you saw the funniest part of the movie already. Joel knows that he has to get home before 8 p.m. if he wants to sleep with his wife, because she puts on her sweatpants at 8, and after the sweat pants go on, he knows he isn’t getting any action. He desperately tries to beat the clock to get home before 8, but his annoying neighbor, David Koeshner of The Office, just won’t seem to stop talking long enough for Joel to get inside the house before the sweat pants go on. As he enters the house, we get a nice close up of an emasculating tug on the drawstrings of her sweatpants as he realizes he hasn’t made it home in time.
Emasculation is an ongoing theme in the film. When a worker at the factory, aptly named Step, loses his “boys” in an unfortunate workplace accident, a sultry con artist shows up at the factory to befriend the injured worker and hopefully cash in on his misfortune. When Joel begins to fall for her, he arranges for a male prostitute (played by the delicious Dustin Milligan) to seduce his wife, which, from his point of view, would free his conscience so he could pursue an affair with the new girl.
Of course, things don’t go as planned and the gigolo he has hired to sleep with his wife one time has started an ongoing affair with her. To make matters worse, Step is talked into hiring a scumbag “park bench” attorney who sues the company for all it is worth. In an iconic scene, the attorney, masterfully played by Gene Simmons, repeatedly offers to drop the case if Joel will agree to place his testicles on a door frame and have the door slammed on them — ouch! Unfortunately, the workers on the factory floor interpret the meeting as a negotiation to sell the small company to General Mills, and they decide to strike in retaliation.
The film was classic Judge, with memorable and quirky characters who caricature the people we see every day. There is the gossipy assembly line worker who wears a kitten sweatshirt and wags her finger at immigrant workers, the rocker who is a member of no fewer than five different bands and the aloof manager who doesn’t know the names of any of his employees.
There aren’t as many quotable quotes as there were in Office Space, but there are some memorable moments. I have the feeling that as I start the cycle of repeated viewing, I will begin to unfold some extra layers of awesome that are under the surface of this gem.
The Gelato Spot
Located at 32nd Street and Camelback, near Biltcadia, The Gelato Spot seems like a perfect match for Extract. After all, isn’t the whole idea of gelato that you can take amazing flavor and pack it into a small, delicious, frozen package? I know some members of the gelato gestapo will curse me for not ranting and raving about the virtues of Arlecchino (on the magical corner of 40th and Campbell), but I just don’t have the patience to mess around with navigating the cramped parking quarters of La Grande Orange when I could be leisurely cruising for a parking spot at the giant lot next to the G Spot.
So, about the gelato. They have all the classics. The stracciatella is decent and the bacio is definitely worth a try. I would avoid some of the more over-the-top concoctions like the Snickers and cookies and cream, although the Ferrero Rocher flavor is worth tasting.
As you might expect, I go for the fruitier flavors. The blood orange is to die for, and the raspberry and kiwi are delicious and refreshing.
The vibe is great, too. It is a chill atmosphere with a coffee shop vibe, owing to its location adjacent to Hava Java. Throw in free wi-fi, and the G Spot is a great place to hang out and do some writing on a Sunday afternoon.