- Vancouver, British Columbia - Buddies movies are back in vogue, particularly after The Hangover, which spawned a sequel and likely another forthcoming sequel in the franchise. A new entry this year is Horribles Bosses, starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day as our lovable threesome, who each have a boss from hell. Horrible Bosses is based on an original story idea by Michael Markowitz, scripted by Markowitz, John Francis Daley, and Jonathan Goldstein. Certainly, most of us have had a boss from hell, or one that we have entertained the idea how much more wonderful of a world we'd live in if he or she did not exist in our circle of influence.
Horrible Bosses focuses on Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), Dale Arbus (Charlie Day), and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis), each with very different situations involving a superior who abuses or misuses them. Nick's boss (Kevin Spacey) is, simply put, a conceited prick, who enjoys showing Nick who is in charge, while Dale's boss (Jennifer Anniston) cannot be around him without being sexually inappropriate and abusing her position of authority in this aspect. Meanwhile, Kurt loses his lovable boss and is forced to work under his soulless son (Colin Farrell), who snorts cocaine, enjoys the company of women of lesser repute, and hates fatties and people in wheelchairs. It all gets to be too much to the point they seek out a hitman to kill their bosses once and for all.
Many aspects about Horrible Bosses work very well, and the plot moves well. There were only a few forgivable drags in the plot where they might have spent too long developing a scene, but overall, the film had steady enough, if not imperfect, pacing. The characters are relatable, though they explore opportunities that most of us would never dream of, yet they still remain in the realm of believability. Another strong point is that the plot is continually moved by each of their choices, which are made as a result of the consequences of their previous choices. It prevents the film from ever feeling forced, giving it a natural feel, and is thus more enjoyable as a result.
When I first saw who was attached to this film, I was admittedly surprised that so much star power was behind it. Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell perform splendidly as the bosses from the underworld, never letting up on their freakish caricatures of abuse of authority, while Jennifer Anniston has taken a surprisingly more sexually aggressive character than is normal for her resumé. She uses her abilities well, but her boss character is easily my least favourite, and eventually she becomes tiresome. Jason Bateman does not exactly venture into daringly new territory, as his character resembles previous efforts, but it fits the film as the pathetic, well-intentioned pushover who just can't find the courage to stand up for himself. This was the first time that I've seen Charlie Day and as a fresh face to feature films, he was a welcomed addition, bringing new life to the silver screen. Sudeikis was entertaining as to be expected. He managed to mute his typical SNL nuances, turning in a performance that fit well with the film and meshed with his character's buddies.
At times during the film, I wondered if Judd Apatow had penned the script, as the dialogue did suffer somewhat from excessive swearing and penis jokes. These aren't things that make me feel uncomfortable, per se, but as a viewer, they diminish the believability of each of the characters when they act like individuals who probably wouldn't swear a lot, but do in the film.
Nevertheless, the situation humour in Horrible Bosses will more than likely be what I remember in this film. The ending is pretty good, though I do have one complaint with the resolution to Dale's conflict with his sexually abusive boss, as I don't feel like we see proper justice, or it simply could be that it is not stated clearly enough to me that I believe Dale gets justice over his boss. As for the other two, it works in a weird sort of way. I'll leave that to you see what happens.
Rating: 2.5/5 Sour Grapes