Horrible Bosses, 2011.
Written and Directed by Seth Gordon.
Starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx.
Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.
It’s ‘average new comedy’ time this weekend with the release of Horrible Bosses. Although it doesn’t break any new boundaries in terms of script, plot, or gags, it is funny throughout and worth seeing on DVD if not at the cinema.
The plot is simple. Jason Bateman works for slave-driver Kevin Spacey; Charlie Day is sexually harassed by his boss Jennifer Aniston (boohoo, I know); Jason Sudeikis finds his new boss, Colin Farrell, intolerable to work for. So, the three friend decide to kill each others’ bosses.
The film unashemedly refers to Throw Momma From The Train (Danny DeVito’s comedic reworking of Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train) and this is essentially what we have; an updated version but with three killers and victims. The cast is excellent, and Jamie Foxx doesn’t even make the poster due to the lack of room for faces. Jason Bateman delivers most of the funniest lines for me, but that might be because I’m still obsessed with Arrested Development and will take anything even resembling that with much appreciation - he’s just Michael Bluth with a different name.
Charlie Day isn’t as well used in the film as he is in his hit show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and the script doesn’t stretch him enough to break out of the TV persona; something which Bateman has done with varying degrees of success. As for Sudeikis, he is the same here as he was in this year’s Hall Pass - crude, full of himself, and always getting the girl, one way or the other. The three work well together and you believe they are friends, although I would have liked to have seen them do more activities than just hanging out at the bar.
As for the bosses; Kevin Spacey is terrific as the mean, nasty character (Superman Returns, Swimming with Sharks, Glengarry Glen Ross) and here is is having a ball and gets some great lines. Jennifer Aniston is filthy and scantily clad throughout, and I don’t pretend I didn’t like to see her out of the ‘Rachel’ comfort zone she all-too-often finds herself is. The real shame is that Colin Farrell doesn’t get nearly enough screen time or dialogue. I would liked to have seen a lot more of him in a cartoonish comedic role.
The reason I called this an ‘average comedy’ is because, despite the stars and devilish premise, it never really goes beyond what it, and the actors, are capable of. The film could have been a lot darker yet keeping it’s high laugh quota - I’m thinking Very Bad Things and Ruthless People as example of how I would have liked to have seen this ending up.
Also, the bosses never actually do anything too horrible to warrant the path the three guys decide to take. The film is too hurried into getting to the ‘let’s kill them’ part, rather than allowing the audience to see just why they should get what’s coming to them.
On the plus side, there isn’t the happy ending where all the bosses make friends with their employees and vow to change their ways - now, that would have been horrible.
VERDICT - 6/10 - Good fun, but nothing more than that.
Rohan Morbey - follow me on Twitter.
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