What up Harry? Caught a preview of Mike Judge's new flick EXTRACT at the Sherman Oaks Arclight here in L.A. Words that were brought up in the focus group to describe it? "Sardonically irreverant," "witty," abstruse," and one lone voice who just kept yelling "stooopid!" I can't say I disagree with any of those comments. Mike Judge continues to be one of the most unique voices in American comedy. He is a human black hole: no foible of mankind escapes the gravity of his acerbic wit. He's like that one small, off-brand cola that actually tastes better than the real Coke. He's the Shasta of Cinema. What's it about? The film revolves around sexually frustrated factory-owner Jason Bateman, struggling to save his marriage while dealing with the aftermath of an on-the-job malfunction that leaves one of his employees without a testicle. But the trailer's a bit misleading. This film plumbs the depths like one of those Ass Canaries proctologists use to detect colon cancer. SPOILER ALERT: Bateman -- whose wife Kristen Wiig keeps her lady treasures buried deep in her sweat pants -- hasn't been laid in a good long while, and the central plot revolves around him trying to find a justification for cheating on her with his new employee, a con-woman played by Mila Kunis. His plan, as suggested by his stoner buddy Ben Affleck (while Bateman is fucked up on horse tranqs): hire a gigolo to try and bone his wife. If the gigolo succeeds, then Bateman is free to fuck whoever he wants. The guy who plays the gigolo, Dustin Milligan (fans of the new 90210 may recognize him) is really the breakout star of the film. His interactions with both Wiig (whom he falls deeply in love with) and Bateman form some of the most genuinely hilarious comedy set pieces of the film. How does it compare to Judge's other films? The most obvious comparison is to OFFICE SPACE, as both deal with 30something men undergoing life crises. But it's clear Mike Judge, as an artist, has grown. EXTRACT tackles human issues with a bit more depth and complexity than did OFFICE SPACE, all while maintaining the level of raunchiness that we expect of him: insecurity, sexual frustration, marital boredom, and the psychological repurcussions of losing a testicle. I'm not quite sure if Extract will incur the sort of cult respect that Office Space has, but I, for one, am going to go out on a limb and say I prefer it. What works the best? In addition to the previously mentioned hilarity of Brad the Gigolo, Ben Affleck is the surprise comedy tour-de-force of this movie. He has exactly the right take on his half-interested-in-Eastern-medicine-but-mostly-a-drugged-out-loser character, who acts mainly as a hilarious sounding board/motivator to Bateman's character. The improvisational scenes between these two, which include a hilariously fucked-up visit to a tatted-up pot dealer (glimpsed in the trailer) are amazing. The pace of the film, and the "set up and pay off" comedy, are impeccable. In particular, a recurring bit with David Koechner as an annoying neighbor pays off in one of the funniest jump cuts in recent cinema history. Mike Judge's cameo, as a factory worker trying to start a strike, is amazing. The subplot about the guy who loses a testicle, who ends up sitting on his couch all day with a hilarious redneck brother reminiscent of DIedrich Bader's character in Office Space, works well. Really, anything with Brad the Gigolo. What are its weaknesses? As is the case with most Judge films, the female characters feel like they could use some work. Mila Kunis is smoking hot in this, but her character is a generic con woman with very little sense of motivation or humanity. The ways in which she flirts and feigns interest to manipulate men sometimes leads to some funny bits, but on the whole her character needed some work. Kristen Wiig, as the wife, also feels a bit underused. We know she's a brilliant comedienne, but Judge doesn't give her much breathing room here to improvise and add some Wiiggy comedic depth to her character. Two scenes of her with Brad the gigolo -- a porn parody flashback to Brad's seduction of her, and the scene where she tries to end the affair with an oblivious Brad -- are great, but we want to see more of her. Especially, we want to learn more about her relationship with Bateman, and the underlying reasons why it isn't working. A cameo by Gene Simmons as a sleazy lawyer didn't quite work for me. Is it worth $12? Definently. I'm going out on a limb and picking this as my favorite comedy of 2009. The only thing I can forsee dethroning it would be FUNNY PEOPLE. It's original, it's funny, it has depth. The cast is uniformly funny, even if some characters could use some work. It was really a breath of fresh air, and a Mike Judge work I'd place on par with OFFICE SPACE. Let's just hope it gets a decent release, unlike the criminally underrated IDIOCRACY. If you use this, call me MCVICKER.