Joel Reynolds (Jason Bateman) is the owner and founder of Reynolds Extract, a flavoring-extracts company. Although his business is successful, his marriage lacks passion. It doesn't help that he is also often accosted by his annoying neighbor, Nathan (David Koechner). One day, a series of mishaps occur at the extract factory, resulting in an employee (Step) (Clifton Collins, Jr.) losing a testicle. Cindy, (Mila Kunis) a con artist and drifter, reads a news story about the accident. Hatching a get-rich-quick scheme, she gets a temporary job at the factory, flirting with Joel in order to manipulate him into giving her more information about Step. She also begins a series of petty thefts from her co-workers, who openly accuse each other of the thefts. Although Step initially decides not to sue the company, he changes his mind after a "chance meeting" with Cindy (that she sets up in order to meet and flirt with him). Under Cindy's influence, Step hires ambulance-chaser attorney, Joe Adler (Gene Simmons ).
Joel, unhappy in his marriage and mistaking Cindy's manipulations for genuine attraction to him, entertains the idea of an affair with Cindy; however, he still loves his wife, and wants to avoid actions that would leave him with regrets later. While visiting his friend Dean (Ben Affleck) and complaining about his situation, Dean suggests that Joel hire a gigolo to seduce his wife, so that Joel can then have a guilt-free "revenge" affair. Joel initially balks at the idea; but, after his judgment is impaired after ingesting a ketamine tablet that Dean mistakenly told him was just a Xanax, Joel eventually agrees. The friends hire Brad (Dustin Milligan ) to seduce his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig ) into an affair, while posing as the pool cleaner. The next morning, Joel sobers up, realizes what he has done, and tries to stop Brad from going to his house; but by then, Brad and Suzie have already begun an affair. Things backfire further, as Brad falls in love with Suzie and wants to run away with her. After smoking marijuana with Dean and his friend Willie, Joel attempts to call Cindy, but soon realizes that he is calling Willie's number. Just then, Cindy walks into the apartment. Willie realizes that Joel is trying to get with Cindy [who lives with Willie], and, infuriated, punches Joel in the face.
Joel meets with Adler and his associates, in the factory office, to discuss the terms of the settlement for Step. The workers, believing that the meeting is about a buy-out of the factory by General Mills, organize a strike. Frustrated by Adler's uncompromising negotiating style and the growing disrespect from his employees, Joel storms out and goes home—where Suzie admits her affair with Brad to him. Joel admits to Suzie that he hired Brad to do it, then leaves after arguing with his wife.
Joel moves into a motel, where he spots Cindy, staying in another room. When he goes to her room, he notices a purse stolen from one of his employees, along with other stolen items, and realizes that Cindy is not only a thief, but is also behind a lot of the company's problems. Joel threatens to call the police, but softens when Cindy breaks down in tears. Cindy promises to talk to Step and get him to drop the lawsuit. Ultimately, the two spend the night together. The next morning, Cindy disappears, but leaves the stolen items behind.
Step meets with Joel at the factory, where he offers to drop the lawsuit if Joel promotes him to floor manager. Meanwhile, while cleaning the pool herself, Nathan stops by and Suzie loses her temper, finally telling him what she really thinks of him and all the things Joel probably wanted to say to him, and just as she finishes her tirade, he collapses and dies. Feeling guilty, Suzie attends the funeral, where she runs into Joel. After a few awkward moments, the two agree to share a ride later, hinting at a possible reconciliation. It is revealed that Cindy has scammed Adler, too: she steals his luxury car, leaving him Step's truck in its place."She's All I Got" – Johnny Paycheck
"Hoogie Boogie" – John Lee Hooker
"I Thank You" – ZZ Top
"Wundercrotchen" – Matthew Strachan (aka Klaus Harmony)
"The Lunatic Fringe" – Delphian (Formerly Yggdrasil) (The song Rory's band God's Cock performed)
"(I Got the) Same Old Blues" – Lynyrd Skynyrd
"Wrapped" – Bruce Robison
"Who Were You Thinkin' of" – Texas Tornados
"Rainy Day Woman" – Waylon Jennings
Principal photography began on August 25, 2008 in Los Angeles. Shortly after completing Office Space (1999), director Mike Judge was already about 40 pages into his follow-up script, set in the world of an extract factory, when he was convinced by his representative team that he needed to shelve that and concentrate on something more commercial. "The only idea that I had that anyone was interested in was what eventually became Idiocracy," says Judge. Over the next several years he focused his energy on developing Idiocracy. But years later, by the time of the film’s release, audiences had decided that Office Space had struck a chord, and they were ready to see Judge return to on-the-job humor and thus the Extract script was given new life.
Seeking to keep Extract below the radar of the studio system, Judge and his producers set up a production company, Ternion Productions, and arranged private financing—while partnering with Miramax for domestic distribution of the film. Judge relied heavily on his own personal knowledge of the industrial world to bring the story to life. “I actually worked in a factory a little bit myself,” the director stated. “I hopefully write stuff that is recognizable as the archetypes of this world.” Keeping true to this baseline of reality, "Extract" was shot in a working factory, in this case a water bottling plant south of Los Angeles, in the City of Commerce. Judge took the authenticity one step further by using the plant’s employees as extras in the scenes’ backgrounds. “Those people were actually running, doing some bottling while we were shooting. There were people working on machines that were so loud in there they couldn’t hear anyone call ‘action’ or ‘cut.’ They were just doing their job.” Shooting on the factory set led Judge to some epiphanies about what made the story resonate for him: “Office Space was told from the point of view of the employees looking up at management as the ‘bad guys’. This is told from the point of view of the owner of the place and the workers are the big pain in the butt to him. I think partly it was inspired by that point in my life where I suddenly had a large number of people working for me and realizing you can’t be a ‘cool guy boss’. It just doesn’t work. So this is my more sympathetic take on the boss.”
Leading up to the film's release, Affleck went on a promotional tour of various cities, starting in Vancouver, Washington, on August 20, 2009, and ending in Los Angeles on September 14, 2009.
In effort to promote the film, Judge released a promotional short which featured his characters Beavis and Butt-head who summarize, and critique, the events depicted in the film.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it earned a 63% "fresh" rating based on 179 reviews. The consensus was "Extract has some very funny moments and several fine performances, but the film feels slighter and more uneven than Mike Judge's previous work."
Dan Zak of the Washington Post, called it "the most disappointing American comedy of the decade". On the other end of the spectrum, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune called it "the funniest American comedy of the summer".
Extract made $4.3 million during its opening weekend and $7.1 million in its first week of release, with a total worldwide gross of $10,848,783.
Extract was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on December 22, 2009.