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‘Extract’ had potential but is short on flavor Review

Jason Bateman stars as Joel, left, and Mila Kunis stars as Cindy in a scene from ’Extract.’

LOS ANGELES — Ten years ago, Mike Judge satirized the absurdities of the workplace experience from the perspective of put-upon employees with “Office Space.”

Now, Judge is back to the daily grind with “Extract,” but this time the writer-director tells his wacky working tales from the boss’ point of view: that of Jason Bateman’s Joel Reynold, owner of a flavor-extract factory. It’s doubtful that this comedy will grab its audience in the same way, though. Judge’s characters are so one-note and their misadventures so ridiculous that it’s hard to get attached to them or care about how they turn out.

Bateman functions in his patented exasperated everyman mode, similar to his Michael Bluth character on “Arrested Development,” only without the smart, surreal dialogue. Joel is proud of the company he founded but finds himself unhappy at work and thinking about selling to General Mills. At the same time, his nonexistent sex life with his frosty wife Suzie (a thoroughly underused Kristen Wiig) at his Texas McMansion has him pondering adulterous thoughts about the flirty Cindy (Mila Kunis).His best friend Dean (Ben Affleck), a suave bartender at a hotel sports grill, suggests that Joel hire a gigolo (Dustin Milligan) to sleep with Suzie, thereby giving him license to cheat on her with Cindy. On the other end of the freak-show spectrum is Nathan (David Koechner), Joel’s nerdy neighbor from across the street who keeps hounding him and Suzie about attending the annual Rotary Club banquet with him. The scenes between Bateman and Koechner are unbelievably cringeworthy, but they also suggest the kind of movie “Extract” might have been if Judge had dared to throw in a little more flavor throughout and not just relied on deadpan inanity.

If you go

What: “Extract”

Starring: Jason Bateman,

Directed by: Mike Judge

Rated: R for language, sexual references and some drug use

Running time: 91 minutes

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