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Now or Then – Extract or Office Space?

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Now: Extract (2009)Then: Office Space (1999)

The folks-in-a-factory comedy Extract marks the long-awaited return of writer-director Mike Judge’s cutting comic sensibility to the dysfunctional work environment. Judge’s 1999 cult classic Office Space, now widely accepted as the ultimate corporate satire, was set in a somewhat more white-collar workplace, but there’s a lot more that unites these two comedies than divides them. (A lack of fresh material, perhaps?) Here are but some of their similarities…

Our Average Joe Hero

Extract: Unassuming Everyman Joel (Jason Bateman) is the owner a flavoring factory where all the employees hold each other in perpetual contempt. Despite his love for the world of flavor extracts, Joel is thinking of cashing out.

Office Space: Unassuming Everyman Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is an engineer at the blandly suburban software company Initech, where he is irritated by everything. He dreams of escape.

The Straight-Talking Friend

Extract: Joel spends much of his downtime complaining to his stoner bartender buddy Dean (Ben Affleck), who in turn proffers advice of questionable value.

Office Space: Peter spends much of his down time talking through the wall to his trashy neighbor Lawrence (Dietrich Bader), whose pearls of wisdom we come to value. (“You don’t need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: He’s broke, don’t do sh-t.”)

The Desperate Need to Get Out of Work On Time
Extract: Joel needs to make it home before 8 PM. to have any hope of making love to his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig). Alas, his irritatingly slow neighbor Nathan (David Koechner) keeps ambushing him with inane conversation before he can make it home.

Office Space: Peter needs to leave the office early in order to avoid his boss’s attempts to make him come in on the weekend. Alas, his irritatingly mousy co-worker Milton (Stephen Root), who shares a neighboring cubicle, won’t stop complaining about his life.

Altered States

Extract: Thanks to a horse tranquilizer provided by Dean, risk-averse Joel becomes convinced that hiring a gigolo to sleep with his wife so he can then have an affair is a good idea. After a massive bong hit, he musters up the courage to call up a hot co-worker (Mila Kunis).

Office Space: Thanks to an occupational hypnotherapy session gone wrong, Peter (Ron Livingston) finds himself stuck in a state of complete relaxation — leading him to shirk all professional and romantic responsibilities, and doing wonders for his existential rut.

“He’s Gonna Get a Huge Settlement!”

Extract: A freak bottling accident causes factory worker Step (Clifton Collins, Jr.) to lose a testicle, resulting in a $1 million insurance payout and the potential for more.

Office Space: Upon getting laid off, Tom Smykowski (Richard Riehle) gets into a horrific, crippling accident with a pickup truck and makes out like a bandit from the settlement.

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