Jason Bateman is a wonderful actor, and in Extract he again makes it seem pretty effortless. Perhaps this is because his character here, Joel, is very much like the one he played in Arrested Development, which I loved. Joel is smart, capable and surrounded by people who are not, and he is trying his best to cope. His most pressing need at the beginning of the film is to get his wife to have sex with him. Meanwhile at work, the dysfunctional employees at his extract plant cause an industrial accident that results in one of their own losing a testicle. And at the same time, he gets an offer from General Foods to buy him out.
When his attempts at sex with his wife fail, he contemplates sleeping with hot new employee Cindy. To that end he is talked into hiring a really cute but totally brainless gigolo to pose as the new pool boy and seduce his wife so that he will have an excuse to have an affair of his own. He only agrees to this plan though while under the influence of horse tranquilizers and copious quantities of booze poured into him by his drug-addled friend, bartender Dean (Ben Affleck.) Once he is sober, he realizes what a mistake this was, but it is too late. And then the General Foods buy-out is thrown into question when the testicleless employee named Step is seduced by Cindy with the intention of getting him to sue for millions, which she plans to swindle him out of. (We know from the beginning of the film that she is a con artist who only came to the company because she read about the accident and saw an opportunity.)
So Joel has a cheating wife that he set up with her new gigolo, a company about to go down the drain because of the swindling con artist, and his employees are sure that he is going to sell out and decide to strike. This movie is actually very funny. Not laugh out loud comedy, but smart writing and true character kind of funny. We have all known people like the ones at his plant that all seem to think they are the ones that are holding the place together, or his Manager Brian (J.K Simmons) who can’t take the time to remember the employees names, so he refers to them all “Dinkus,” or the neighbor, Nathan, who is constantly besieging Joel to chat about absolutely nothing. This kind of comedy may not be for everyone, but if you want something that isn’t adolescent humor or over-the-top slapstick or rom com, this may be the ticket. I recommend it.