I originally became interested in film criticism when I moved beyond a simplistic interest in Hollywood spectacles and developed a fascination with the way movies tapped into human psychology and sociological forces. I was smitten with romantic comedies of the thirties and forties because they elevated the plight of the everyman to a level of creative scrutiny that revealed something honest and insightful about the American mindset. Although he doesn't make romantic comedies, Mike Judge does continue that tradition with his generally understated and always astute observations of lonely protagonists faced with seemingly mundane tribulations. I've been a Judge fan for quite some time, and his latest movie, Extract, didn't let me down. With Judge, you have to expect minor stories and uneventful plots sustained by likable characters and amusing situations. I find this to be a lot more interesting than anything Judd Apatow cooks up (although Freaks and Geeks, along with certain credibly bittersweet moments of The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, could be seen as slightly Judge-ian).
I've written a somewhat lengthy analysis of Extract within the context of Judge's other film and TV works here. Check it out at Greencine Daily if you've got the time to spare, and then listen to Beavis and Butthead review the movie in the brilliant viral ad embedded below: