If you've ever worked a job in your life, chances are you've wanted to kill your boss at some point. Maybe it's his big head that gets in the way of that promotion he promised you, maybe it's her raging sex drive, or maybe it's all that cocaine he forget to wipe off his nose when he exits the bathroom. Whatever the reason, we've all been there. Such is the idea behind 'Horrible Bosses,' a comedy about finally saying "Oh, Hell no!" and making that sweet, sweet fantasy we've all dreamt about at those damn morning meetings a reality.
Go ahead and hit the jump to see if we threw the book at this thing or let it off easy.
What's It About?
'Horrible Bosses' is about three friends named Nick, Dale and Kurt who love their jobs but passionately hate the people they work for. Nick's boss has been walking all over him for years just because he can, Dale's boss is blackmailing him for sex, and Kurt's boss is a balding cokehead who's gunning to run the family company into the ground. Eventually things come to a head, and the three guys decide that the only solution to their common problem is to kill their bosses without getting caught. So, after a "murder consultant" tells them to kill each others' bosses in order to eliminate a blood trail, they start brewing up ways to do just that without winding up in jail or the morgue while doing so. And as it turns out, offing people and making it look like an accident is much harder to pull off than you'd think.
Remind Us Again What's So Horrible About Being Sexually Harassed by Jennifer Aniston?
Well, the problem is that Dale is happily engaged and his man-eater of a boss is out to sabotage his relationship by forcing him to cheat on his wife-to-be. But other than that, we hear ya.
Nevertheless, this is a pretty swell idea for a comedy. It's relatable, it's dark, and in a world where you can remake 'No Strings Attached' and call it 'Friends With Benefits,' it's nice to have something different from stuff we've already seen. And for the most part, all these things do come together to make for a generally successful effort. Then again, there's also a good deal of stuff that doesn't work at all, and those aspects sometimes end up being even more memorable.
The things that ultimately hold 'Horrible Bosses' back from being something great are the script and the trailers. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where most of the funniest parts are given away in the previews, and while it's not like every other laugh falls flat on its face, this kind of deal is always a bummer.
As for the script, it spends too much time trying to capture that same kind of effortless, conversational, crude chemistry that worked so well with the guys from 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' instead of capitalizing on the slew of fresh scenarios that you'd think would come naturally from a premise like this. We've seen movies that have somehow managed to make murder hilarious; this could have been one of those opportunities to take something awful and flip it on its head so that it's anything but, but for some reason it ends up being a platform for the three leads to go back and forth about whatever the hell pops into their heads. It'd be one thing if this did capture that same kind of chemistry that Judd Apatow has mastered, but that's not the case here and we're not really sure who's to blame.
Just too many punch lines fueled by oddly random stuff that felt out of place and kind of cheap in retrospect.
But How's the Cast?
They're pretty solid, and they work well together.
Jason Bateman plays Nick, and Kevin Spacey plays his egomaniacal boss, Dave Harken. Bateman is very likable, as usual, and he gets some good laughs as the leading man, and while Spacey is probably the least funny of all the bosses, he definitely has no problem portraying an evil bastard and is easily the most kill-worthy of the three.
Charlie Day from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' plays Dale and Jennifer Aniston plays his boss who keeps trying jump his bones, Dr. Julia Harris. Even though Day is far and away the funniest guy on his show, the mile-a-minute thing just didn't work for us this time does, especially since his most memorable scene couldn't make us stop thinking of the best scene from 'Corky Romano.' Jennifer Aniston, on the other hand, deserves a round of applause for helping us forget about all those rom-coms she's been churning out over the years by giving us the raunchiest and ballsiest performance of her freakin' career. Seriously, she goes all out with this one and has zero qualms delivering lines that would make a porn star blush.
And Jason Sudeikis from 'Saturday Night Live' plays Kurt, whose tool of a boss is played by Colin Farrell. While everything we said about Bateman can pretty much be said about Sudeikis, Farrell was by and large the funniest boss of the bunch. The last time we saw such a notoriously handsome man go so ugly so well was with Tom Cruise in 'Tropic Thunder,' and even though Farrell doesn't quite match that same degree of awesomeness, he gets major props for this.
But the highlight of this whole thing really is Jamie Foxx as the "murder consultant," Motherf*cker Jones. Even aside from the fantastic name, he really has fun with his time on-screen and, strangely enough, has the best comedic timing of the cast to boot. Crazy how of all the things that happen in this movie, the funniest bit of the whole thing is a conversation he has with the three leads about the movie 'Snow Falling on Cedars.' That probably sounds strange out of context, but trust us, it was the one thing we were quoting at the end.
Is It Worth Seeing?
'Horrible Bosses' had great potential thanks to its premise and big-name actors going as gung-ho as they did, but a somewhat weak script never really cashes everything in. It's not the funniest movie we've seen this year, but it's good for some laughs, and the crowd in our theater sounded like they were having themselves a good ol' time. Besides, it's still better than 'The Hangover: Part II' even with its faults.
6/10 Severance Packages