Extract is perfectly consistent with Mike Judge’s brand of comedy. It’s observational humor, where the joke is more the things that happened, although people do say funny things too.
The extract factory is sort of incidental. What’s important is that incompetent workers can’t do things right, the boss knows he can’t count on them and even gives them all the same nickname, and the neighbor keeps asking questions after he’s already gotten the answer.
It’s about behavior. People who don’t know things try to do things and cause problems for the people who do know stuff. Other people analyze things they don’t really know.
Circumstances change a character’s mood. The same scene played in a different state of mind would have a different reaction, and that’s funny. Jason Bateman’s performance goes a long way to selling this understated difference.
It’s really satisfying that none of the comedy comes from a misunderstanding. Stuff goes wrong because people actually make it go wrong and suffer consequences. It’s not some well meaning mix-up. The film holds its characters accountable to the point that one insists on paying for the scheme that ruined his life in the first place, because that’s actually responsible, even though it’s messed up.
There’s a little bit of pop culture, some riffing on staples like call waiting. That feels like Judge’s greatest strength. Of his three films, Extract probably has the least social significance, since it doesn’t offer any real point of view on the workplace or our future. It’s just about some funny stuff that happens. ”