The cast is superb and overshadows the glaring plot deficiencies and poor storytelling.
Horrible Bosses is yet another iteration of the deluge of R-rated movies that have capitalized in recent years on the success of writer/director Judd Apatow and the new wave of raunchy comedy for which he is responsible. The film will make some audiences laugh uncontrollably, while others are sure to take offense to the vast majority of the humor, which involves explicit sexual references (no innuendos here), bodily excretions, and copious amounts of vulgar dialogue. That being said, I am without a doubt in the former camp and thought the movie was hilarious. It is, of course, unoriginal and ludicrous, but funny as hell.
The dream team cast that director Seth Gordon has assembled is the real source of the movie’s success. Stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis are brilliant in their roles, but they wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining to watch without their respective counterparts played by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell. The cast is superb and overshadows the glaring plot deficiencies and poor storytelling.
In the movie, Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day), and Kurt (Sudeikis) are all tortured by their bosses in one way or another, and it’s making their lives completely miserable. Dave Harken (Spacey) has been dangling the promise of a promotion in front of Nick’s face for eight years, making Nick his total slave in the interim. Dale’s boss, Dr. Julia Harris (Aniston), sexually harasses him daily with reckless abandon despite the fact that he is engaged. Possibly worst of all is Kurt’s boss, Bobby Pellit (Farrell), a cokehead man-child who is determined to bankrupt the company his father built and which Kurt loves.
The men decide that they’ve had enough and begin planning to kill their bosses. The problem is, they don’t know how. They’re white collar workers with no criminal past (except Dale, whose poorly timed public urination got him tagged as a sex offender). So they do what any three white guys would do and hit up a seedy bar in the “bad” (i.e. black) part of town and enlist the services of “MF” Jones (Jamie Foxx).
Comparisons of Horrible Bosses to 9 to 5 in terms of story have been espoused ad nauseam, so we’ll forego that here. The real enjoyment of the movie is watching the three clueless lead characters run around pretending they could ever possibly be considered badasses. That’s where the film’s true ingenuity arises; none of them know what they’re doing and they all refuse to admit they are in way over their heads.
Sudeikis, surprisingly, gets some of the movie’s biggest laughs due to the unbelievable things Kurt will say when talking about women. Day, who has a rabidly loyal fan base from his role on the FX show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, is equally entertaining as the constant screw up and weakest link of the trio. If you love Day on Sunny, you’ll love him in Bosses as he is essentially playing the same character. The only letdown is Bateman who reprises his straight man persona but gets railroaded by the more animated actors.
Though not as good as he was in Swimming with Sharks (if you haven’t seen it, rent it!), Spacey is absolutely loathsome as Harken, which is the sign of a great performance. Aniston is incredibly entertaining to watch as she sheds her good girl Hollywood image by delivering some of the most cringe-inducing dialogue of the movie involving very specific sexual acts. Farrell, whose career has made an impressive 180-degree turn as of late, is wonderful as the slimy Bobby Pellit you can’t help but hate.
Horrible Bosses provides plenty of great sophomoric, frat boy comedy, which will not please everyone. Fans of Apatow films like Knocked Up will love the movie. Everyone else will most likely hate it. | Matthew Newlin