A lot of people in HALL H on Saturday were probably there for the “Iron Man 2” footage. It wasn’t a bad day before “Iron Man 2”. There was the “Lost” panel which I hear was hilarious (I went last year and while it was a lot of fun, they won’t tell you a single thing; plus, I got my own slice of “Lost” glory when I went to Flynn’s Arcade on Friday night…). There was also “Zombieland” (looks great) and “2012” (looks bad). And then there was Mike Judge’s “Extract”, his newest film that, in a shocking turn of events, is actually getting a real marketing campaign and everything. Not only was their the nut-smash reaction shots that I mentioned in my piece about Preview Night, but they had brought Judge and stars Jason Bateman (a first-time Comic-Con attendee) and Mila Kunis (whose practically a Comic-Con veteran at this point by attending for “Max Payne” last year and “The Book of Eli”, “Extract” and “Family Guy” this year) and they play to a packed Hall H to show off their film.
Did they succeed? I’d say so. Hit the jump to find out why I think that “Extract” is going to make it and how I ended up speaking in front of over 6,000 people.
“Extract”, for those that don’t know, is about a man named Joel (Bateman) who runs an extract plant and meets a new, attractive employee (Kunis, not Clifton Collins, sadly) and is having martial trouble with his wife (played by Kristen Wiig who was unable to attend since she’s currently working on Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Greg Mottola’s “Paul” in New Mexico). They show off their trailer at the start (it’s great and you can check it out here) and I cheer for J.K. Simmons because someone has to and always should. Afterwards, they mention they’ll be premiering three new clips but before they do, the moderator asks a dumb question about “Office Space” and how he came up with the idea. Judge responds that he worked in a cubicle and it sucked. I just want them to show the damn clips and they do.
The first scene is when Jason and Mila first meet and she tries to charm him not because she likes him as much as she’s hoping to get injured on the job and then sue his company for a huge settlement like Clifton Collins’ character who got his nuts knocked off in another factory mishap. She’s flirting with him but I’m a little bummed to see Jason playing a straight-man similar to Michael Bluth but without the hours to really flesh out the character. After Mila has left, Jason’s friend Ben Affleck comes in and comments on how hot Mila is. Affleck steals the scene.
The second scene is Jason and Ben scheming to try and get a gigolo to masquerade as a pool boy and try to seduce Bateman’s wife so Jason can have an affair with Mila guilt-free. The only problem is that Ben has accidentally given Jason a horse tranquilizer and so Jason is really out of it and accidentally accepts Ben’s plan and the gigolo’s offer. It kind of gives a hint of the dark comedy in the film but the scene doesn’t really work that well. Thankfully, Mike notes when the lights come up that that a chunk of the scene is missing and that a great punchline is missing. Jason quips, “Someone’s getting fired…” Oh, Affleck steals this scene as well.
The last scene has Bateman realizing that the previous night’s hiring of the gigolo actually happen and he races to call Affleck to try and stop the plan from going forward. However, after a funny exchange of trying to figure out the gigolo’s name which is “Mexican” according to Affleck’s character although he also mentions that the gigolo is white, Bateman finally manages to get in contact with the gigolo but discovers he’s too late. He asks the gigolo to describe what happened and the re-enactments are in the style of a soft-core porno and they’re brilliant. After hearing enough and slamming his phone against his desk, he asks the gigolo to please stop with the description. Affleck also steals this scene and it’s surprising since he’s in all three scenes with Bateman and it’s usually Bateman who ends up stealing a film.
When we’re done with the clips I half-expect Affleck to stride onto stage since the audience loved him in all three clips (I think the Affleck-haters are starting to change their wrong-headed opinion of the guy). It may not be fair to say that Affleck will steal the film since his broad comedy may blend quite nicely with Bateman’s subtle approach. Thus begins the audience Q&A:
After being the 2,346,971st person to praise Judge’s “Idiocracy” as “prescient”, the questioner asks how Mike comes up with such dim-bulb characters. Judge doesn’t know but he has worked with a lot of stupid people.
Some guy asks if Mike Judge would play a James Bond movie and it’s one of the weirdest questions I’ve heard at the Con. Then someone jokingly asks Judge why he hates America. Judge says “I love America!” Mike says he loves it here, but Europe? “Blech!” he cries.
The next guy to approach the mic asks Judge if Judge is anti-veganism since Judge’s animated show “The Goode Family” pokes fun at a family of vegans and the questioner is a vegan himself. I don’t remember the answer because the guy followed up by asking Mila if she needed a pool cleaner and while I’m usually not down with hitting on the folks on the stage, he did it in a clever way and I laughed along with most of the audience. Mila exclaims, “You have balls, my friend!” She then, after careful consideration, Mila says “Sure, he could be her pool cleaner.”
I believe the moderator then asks Jason and Mila about the worst jobs they ever had. Jason says folks should just pull up his IMDb page and throw a dart. Have I mentioned how great Jason Bateman is? No? He’s great. Just FYI.
Then someone shouts out “Arrested Development movie!” I’m surprised it took so long for us to get there. The audience goes wild. Jason explains that the “Arrested Development” movie is not dead and creator and executive producer Mitch Hurwitz is done with pilot season so he can get to work on it, but Jason notes that Mitch could call tomorrow with a rough draft of the first 50 pages or he may not have anything till the end of next year. I’m kind of hoping for the tomorrow-thing.
After Jason finishes his answer, I look over to the audience Q&A line and notice it’s remarkably short which is odd because usually the line is ridiculously long not only with folks who want to ask a question but also the douche nozzles who get back in line so they can get back to the mic and ask ANOTHER dumb question. The moderator asks if there’s any more questions from the audience and I realize that I have to go up to the mic and ask a question because it’s a kiss of death if your panel ends not because it’s supposed to but because the audience didn’t care enough to even ask questions about it.
I get in line and a staff member asks me what my question will be and I have two. I want to ask Jason about how he steals every movie he’s in when he’s in a supporting role but here it looks like he’s playing a straight-man so I was wondering if he gets some other fun scenes. My other question is for Kunis because I want her to talk about all the abuse that gets heaped on Meg in “Family Guy”. The staff member tells me I have to choose one so I go with Mila since I’ve already spoken to Bateman in my life (it was at the junket for “The Kingdom”, another film where he was great). However, I remember that Mila has done the “Family Guy” panel earlier today and it’s possible someone asked her about that. I go back to the staff member and ask if I can ask the Jason question instead.
Right before I’m about to get to the mic, a staff member working at the head of the line comes up to me to get my question. I say I want to ask Michael my question about stealing scenes. He looks down at his clipboard and pauses for a little while. I ask if anything is wrong and he says “I’m not sure if that’s his name…” and I realize I was about to call Jason Bateman “Michael” (as in “Michael Bluth”, his character in AD). I should have given that staff worker a big hug since he saved me from humiliating myself in front of 6,000 people.
I finally get to the front of the line and I’m the last question. I try to casually hold up my badge since it has my name and the name of Collider.com on it and even thought I want new people to discover the site, I don’t want to say the site’s name directly since I think it’s extremely tacky, kind of desperate, and will only backfire (after the panel I went over to Russ Fischer and Peter Scittera of /Film to ask if they thought I sucked and if they could see my badge; they said I was fine but they couldn’t really see the badge). I ask my question and I don’t know if you’ve ever spoken in front of 6,000 people watching you on a massive screen and your voice booming through a massive digital sound system, but it’s an odd experience. For one, instead of looking at the panel, I’m looking up at my gigantic visage and curse my shiny forehead and receding hairline. That combined with the “Iron Man 2” I helped to swede on Saturday night will make a few folks wonder why my eyes are always looking up.
I apologize for going on at length about this and it’s not to (as I hate) take the focus away from the panel and put it on me. I just wanted to make sure the movie didn’t look bad (because I want the movie to succeed since I think it looks good) and I was curious what that experience was like. I probably wouldn’t do it again but I can say at least say I spoke, if only for a brief moment, in front of over 6,000 people and I hope they didn’t think I was the worst. I can’t even remember Jason’s answer because I was so weirded out by the experience but it was just another great moment in my unforgettable time at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
“Extract” hits theatres on September 4th.