On idiot-boxes, Mike Judge is hailed as a leftish comedic genius, a writer/creator responsible for some of the sharpest satire and genuinely funny characters on the tube. Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill—-the guy is the reigning champ of underappreciated, animated comedy. His recent The Goode Family, the promising yet slow-building King of the Hill variant about a ragtag family of environmentally-consciois hippies, isn’t exactly tearing up the airwaves, but it doesn’t need to—-Judge has already proven his televisial merits tenfold.
At the box office, however, the poor guy has yet to score one honest-to-goodness hit with original, non-Beavis material. You may adore Office Space now, as do I, but none of us even batted an eye when that megaton bomb hit theaters back in February 1999. “Fail” was unfairly written on Judge’s forehead again with 2006’s Idiocracy, a good-not-great high concept comedy with Luke Wilson that was in and out of a single-digit theater count in one miserable weekend. As Office Space shows, though, it’s not that the guy can’t write/direct something that’s hilarious…..he’s just yet to receive the necessary and deserved treatment from distributors and ticket-buyers alike.
Enter Extract, his third live action feature film that’s set to open on September 4th. Forget the piled-on social commentary and progressive conception of Idiocracy; Judge is fully back in Lumberg/Milton/TPS Report territory this time. You get the always-reliable Jason Bateman as a factory manager going through a midlife crisis with a sexually-cold wife (Saturday Night Live‘s current MVP, Kristen Wiig), confiding in his stoner buddy (Ben Affleck, back in Dazed and Confused mode, nicely) and lusting after a new employee played by the exquisite-looking and comedically gifted Mila Kunis. Toss some J.K. Simmons in the mix and you have what could be this year’s best sleeper comedy.
The trailer, which you can watch after the jump, captures the quintessential Mike Judge tone to the tee: not overly showy, but beaming with stone-faced laugh fodder and colorful eccentrics, all anchored by a leading straight man a la Ron Livingston in Office Space. What do you say we all rally behind Extract and give Mr. Judge his first full-fledged hit, huh? Shit, the guy completely deserves one at this point.