Tag Archives: Jason Bateman

Trailer Alert: Horrible Bosses

I don’t love watching trailers for comedy movies, because they often give away a lot of the film’s best jokes (case and point: Due Date). And I kind of get the sense that may be the case with Horrible Bosses, which stars Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day as three dudes with, yes, horrible bosses (played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston).

I really like the three leads, and Sudeikis and Day already proved to have good best-bud chemistry in last year’s underrated Going the Distance. In fact, as much as I like him, Bateman kind of seems like the odd man out in this trio of friends. Even though he’s only about six years older than the other two, somehow Bateman seems much older. However, all actors have funny moments in the trailer, with Day stealing it for me. Farrell also looks hilarious as the balding, bigoted boss of Sudeikis.

Horrible Bosses looks like a fairly rote comedy, and I’m a little bit confused by the storyline (doesn’t murder seem a bit extreme, even for this kind of movie?), but I imagine the cast will help boost the quality. Bateman is a funny and capable of some pretty good acting (while The Switch was mediocre, I thought Bateman was surprisingly good in the film’s more emotional moments), and I’ll probably watch any movie that he’s in. There’s no way this can be worse than Couples Retreat, at least.

Interweb Must-Watch: Jason Bateman on Red Band Trailer

Peole just don’t understand my enthusiasm for Jason Bateman. I mean, I sat through Couples Retreat because of him (okay, and because I like Swingers). And as much as I absolutely love Arrested Development, my personal favourite Jason Bateman performance is in 2007’s Juno. Even more than Juno‘s twisty script and Ellen Page’s revelatory performance, I really treasure Bateman’s performance, and his character Mark, in a weird way. He’s immature, and hardly someone that you would root for, but Mark almost turned out to be the emotional core of the movie, for me.

So when I heard that Bateman would be appearing on a talk show hosted by Juno writer Diablo Cody (AND that said talk show would take place in an Airstream trailer), I was pretty excited. The ten-minute interview  is up on the Red Band Trailer YouTube channel, and it’s a ton of fun to watch. Cody is quick and self-depricating, and the two of them seem to have a grand old time together. I have to admit, though, I am a little confused by Bateman’s surprisingly earnest assurances that he’s, “Just kidding”, after a few particularly dry barbs. Since when has Jason Bateman ever not assumed that everyone in the world shares his particular brand of humour?

You can watch the Jason Bateman interview below, and you may also want to check out Adam Brody’s appearance on Red Band Trailer. Oh, Seth Cohen. You’re actually pretty clever.

Extract (2009)

It should be noted that I have not seen Mike Judge’s 1999 cult classic, Office Space. While it’s on my very long list of movies that I want to someday get around to seeing, I don’t see that as being a problem for reviewing his latest film, Extract.

In this offbeat comedy, Jason Bateman plays Joel Reynolds, the owner of a factory that makes food flavouring extracts. He has to deal with a gaggle of hapless employees, a sexless marriage, and the temptation to cheat on his wife (Kristen Wiig) with an attractive young temp at his plant (Mila Kunis). Joel’s only friend, a spacey bartender named Dean (Ben Affleck) suggests that Joel tempt his wife with an attractive young gigolo (Dustin Milligan). If she takes the bait, Dean figures that Joel is free to pursue an affair with his employee, Cindy.

But unbeknownst to Joel, Cindy is actually a con artist, hoping to capitalize on an unfortunate accident that left one of Joel’s employees, Step (Clifton Collins Jr.), in a position to sue the company. The impending lawsuit puts the company’s chances of being bought out – and Joel’s hopes for an early retirement – in jeopardy.

If that sounds like a lot of plot for a silly 90 minute comedy, it’s probably because it is. Extract is a film that would have benefitted from fewer characters and subplots, and more concentration on the humour aspect. There are funny parts, but this movie stalls several times when it’s trying to squeeze in all of the necessary plot points. And after all of that story, the movie still doesn’t feel like it’s really about anything.

But even though Extract is thrifty with its laughs, it does find a lot of humour in everyday people and circumstances. From Joel’s unrelentingly annoying neighbour to the young metalhead working at the extract factory, you’re bound to recognize people that you know in the characters. Joel himself is a very real character, and therefore a very flawed person. He’s kind of like a less likeable version of Bateman’s Michael Bluth on Arrested Development. But Bateman plays the character expertly. His sense of timing and sarcasm is impeccable, and it’s great to see him get a lead role.

Though I’m not much of a Ben Affleck fan (except when he’s directing Gone Baby Gone), I thought he was actually pretty funny here, even if the “dumb stoner” shtick isn’t exactly a new concept. He brings some likeability and zest to the role that’s needed in a film like this, which is so wry that it’s almost devoid of emotion.

Mila Kunis is given virtually nothing to do in this role, other than standing around and looking nice. Cindy started off seeming like an interesting character, but she’s soon shuttled to the background. We never learn anything about her story, and the “con artist” plotline goes in the most expected directions. Kristen Wiig isn’t given much screen time or material either (though she makes the best of it), which is ridiculous, considering what a huge comedic talent she is. Having a good cast is important, but it’s also irrelevant if you don’t play to their strengths.

Extract is a mixed bag. Its observational humour is spot-on at times, but the physical humour involving crotch-shots and black eyes falls totally flat. It suffers from too many characters, and often gets too wrapped up in half-baked storytelling. Bateman really helps to save the movie, and I like that its going for a subtle brand of humour. But in the end, there just aren’t enough laughs to make it a must-see.

6/10