Picks and Pans Review: Assembly Line Laughs

UPDATED 09/14/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/14/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck
R |

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Joel Reynold (Bateman), the "Extract King" in the lucrative world of food flavorings (who knew?), is suffering from the common man's malady—he's not gettin' any at home. Every night after a hard day at the factory, Joel races home to beat his wife's 8 p.m. sweatpants deadline, to no avail. "We're turning into one of those brother-sister couples," he complains to his barkeep and best buddy Dean (Affleck, at his laid-back best). The ever-stoned Dean concocts a brilliant plan—spike Joel's drink, persuade him to hire a gigolo to service his bored wife (Saturday Night Live's Wiig), and Joel can have a guilt-free fling with the new babelicious employee (Kunis) on the assembly line. Kunis may look fetching, but she's got her own scheme that could bring down Joel's business. Unlike his cult classic Office Space, in which writer-director Mike Judge hilariously skewered the disgruntled world of cubicle dwellers, this time Judge uses the blue-collar setting only as a backdrop. The bulk of the humor comes from slapstick and a cast of likeable dim-witted characters. In fact, you'll root more for the dopey but endearing gigolo (90210's Dustin Milligan) than for Affleck and Bateman, who could be Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head buddies all grown up.

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