Review in a Hurry: Writer-director Mike Judge heads back to work with folks who would rather be anywhere other than their soul-sucking jobs. But instead of the doldrums of the Office (Space), here the stale stench of the factory is made somewhat funny with Jason Bateman and his time-clock-punching cohorts.
The Bigger Picture: Joel's (Bateman) dreams of selling his almond-extract plant come to a halt when one of his employees, Step (Clifton Collins Jr.), is the victim of a serious on-the-job injury. Gene Simmons (yeah, that Gene Simmons) "steps" in as Step's lawyer, eyeing mucho dollars from an accident that has left his client's family jewels the worse for wear.
On top of the lawsuit, Joel suffers other emasculating crises, like the sitcom-y storyline about his lackluster marriage (to Kristen Wiig). And when Joel's buddy Dean (Ben Affleck) cooks up a plot to win Joel the right to be unfaithful (with factory new-hire hottie Mila Kunis), things go horribly wrong in a rather obvious manner. Without giving too much away, if Joel and his wife just talked to each other, then the Three Company hijinks wouldn't be necessary. And while Kunis is quite fetching in her blue-collar couture, she doesn't have much to do but look hot. She's introduced as a con artist, but when the factory workers lose their valuables they blame it on some wrongly accused schlub.
Thankfully, though the script is a bit predictable, Judge knows how to cast a picture. He has a knack for surrounding his leading man with really strong character actors. The always-reliable J.K. Simmons (Burn After Reading) is Bateman's right-hand man. David Koechner (Anchorman) plays the worst neighbor ever, bringing a boorish charm to his scenes. And Ben Affleck is all sorts of awesome. Like Brad Pitt, Affleck seems to flourish in roles that are less leading man (um, Gigli) and more stoner bud. As the pot-smokin' guru dolt, Affleck gets all the best lines and steals nearly every scene he's in.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Extract gets the most out of its (admittedly) thin plot, but unlike everyone's favorite, Office Space, we're not sure if this has that all-important rewatchability factor.
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