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Extract

A lame premise only floats a few laughs in Mike Judge's comedy

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Follow this if you can: A nice guy (Jason Bateman) who's bored with his marriage opts to trick his wife (Kristen Wiig) into having an affair, so that he can have an extramarital dalliance -- all so his domestic life gets the spark it needs. Inspired, he hires a gigolo, and sets his sights on a new hottie (Mila Kunis) working at his flavoring factory. The fact that this plan only makes sense when he's under the influence of a major narcotic should be the clue that it's not a very good idea -- for life, or for comedy. There's the odd chuckle, but the premise is simply too idiotic to generate satisfying laughs. Like much of Judge's work, the better jokes are around the edges of the main story, such as the crack timing of the two smitten music-store dudes, or the pitch-perfect complaints of one factory worker. In fact, in these gloomy recessionary times, I wonder why Judge didn't keep the focus closer to the workplace, where much nervous laughter -- and a subplot about a worker's lawsuit -- is available. After all, this is the man who mined the fluorescent-lit cubicle for comedy paydirt in Office Space, and -- laughing or not -- we spend more time with our amusingly irritating co-workers than with our boring spouses.

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