Like comedian Steven Wright says, "There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot."
Mike Judge, in his minimum-affect motion picture Extract, walks that line. Sometimes his characters - Jason Bateman as a flavor-extract factory owner, Kristen Wiig as his wife, Ben Affleck as an advice-slinging barkeep, and Mila Kunis as a sexy grifter - are casting the lines out and pulling in the, er, jokes. And sometimes they just seem to be standing there, not exactly idiots, but not anyone to care about, either.
Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-head (remember that quaint 20th-century duo?), the animated series King of the Hill, the sly workplace comedy Office Space, and the little-seen but cult-spawning Idiocracy, definitely shows his penchant for deadpan drollery in Extract. But sometimes things can be too deadpan: Bateman's Joel Reynold, lamenting the lack of a sex life with his wife, Suzie (Wiig), confides to his friend Dean (Affleck) and gets little more than a shrug in response. If Preston Sturges is famous for his breakneck-pace screwball farces, Judge's Extract is let's-not-even-break-a-sweat.