Horrible Bosses
dir Seth Gordon
scr Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley
prd Brett Ratner, Jay Stern
with Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Julie Bowen, PJ Byrne, Donald Sutherland, Ioan Gruffudd, Bob Newhart
release US 8.Jul.11, UK 22.Jul.11
11/US NewLine 1h38
Horrible Bosses
Stakeout: Bateman, Day and Sudeikis

spacey aniston farrell
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Horrible Bosses More amusing than hilarious, this silly comedy at least has moments that make us laugh out loud as its plot gets increasingly ridiculous. And the solid cast members really throw themselves into each scene.

Nick, Kurt and Dale (Bateman, Sudeikis and Day) are three friends who like their jobs but are tormented by their evil bosses (Spacey, Farrell and Aniston, respectively). When they decide they can't take any more abuse, they decide to do something drastic, hiring an inner-city hitman (Foxx) with an unprintable name and then trying to find key information about their bosses that they can use to bump them off. And of course nothing goes to even their pathetic attempt at a plan.

Clearly the cast is having a lot of fun here, and the mood is infectious. Of the three bosses, Spacey's aggressive back-stabber is the most convincing, while Aniston's sexual predator and Farrell's coke-fiend are more humorously cartoonish. But all of them are so, yes, horrible that we can see why these hapless guys are at the end of their rope. We sympathise with their frustration and even their persistent ineptness, although the lack of any real character definition keeps them from properly engaging our interest.

That said, director Gordon brings some sequences together with a sharp sense of physical slapstick and subtle comical touches. The caper-style scenes are deeply contrived, but packed with funny jokes that catch us off-guard. And there's a strong sense of camaraderie between Bateman, Sudeikis and Day that gives the film a solid centre even as it continually goes for cheap laughs, random throwaway punchlines and corny plot turns.

But the real problem is the complete lack of irony. The premise is ripe for black humour and cynical wit, and yet the script and direction resolutely remain on the surface, afraid to really confront the omnipresent violence or sex while dodging any real sense of what's at stake for these three guys. It wouldn't have been too difficult to add some shadings to the bosses or to stir in some earthy subtext. But clearly the filmmakers weren't interested in challenging their audience; they just wanted to make us laugh.

cert 15 themes, language, innuendo, violence 14.Jul.11

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Horrible Bosses Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall