TAKE TWO: Horrible Bosses

22 Jul

Horrible Bosses

Rated: R

Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey

Director: Seth Gordon

Chris’ Take: Summer comedies are hit or miss most of the time. This summer has been primarily composed of some serious misses. We’ve gotten The Hangover 2, which while decent was far below expectations, Bad Teacher which had a lot of potential but floundered it in the final 10 minutes, and The Zookeeper…which at 15% on RT requires no explanation. I felt like I was wandering in a desert of poor comedy until I stumbled across the oasis that is Horrible Bosses.

Most people, at one point or another, have dealt with a horrible boss and made off-handed comments about “killing” them. The film Horrible Bosses takes this premise and runs with it. Nick, Kurt and Dale (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day) are close friends and each are dealing with a uniquely terrible boss. Nick’s boss, Dave (Kevin Spacey), is a twisted man who leads Nick on by promising promotions that he never intends to give and tricking him into drinking at work. Kurt’s boss, Bobby (Colin Farrell), is a crazy cocaine addict who fires people he doesn’t like or who creep him out. Dale’s boss, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), sexually harasses him while he is trying to remain faithful to his fiance. When all three bosses cross the line, the friends plot to kill each others’ boss and move on with their lives.

A great buddy comedy, even if it is a dark one, relies heavily on the chemistry between its leads, and Horrible Bosses came out in spades. Bateman, Sudeikis and Day provided great complements to each other, which is nice to see  because each of them have been floundering around in low caliber comedies recently, trying to make a stand without any support. Bateman never plays an out and out funny character, he is at his best when he can play the deadpan straight man to someone else’s zaniness.

Of course, there is one exception...Pepper Brooks.

Sudeikis’ comedy usually gets lost in a poor script, which he was able to overcome this time, and Charlie Day…

He was pretty much right at home.

Right below the stellar lead cast was a strong foundation of supporting characters. Kevin Spacey played the smart and cruel boss perfectly, giving the audience plenty of reason to make him the out-and-out bad guy in the story. Jennifer Aniston definitely let her more vulgar side show, and came out being funnier in this than anything she’s been in…ever. Colin Farrell was my personal favorite out of the three, because he plays the eccentric superbly. Outside of these three, there was another pleasant supporting actor, Jamie Foxx, who plays the man they hire to give them advice. I don’t normally like Jamie Foxx, but he was hilarious in this cameo and had several scene stealing lines.

The premise for the film is obviously preposterous, but I like how Seth Gordon and the writers made sure to not go completely dark with it. They ensured that each lead explored other options for coping with their bosses and reasons why they couldn’t just quit. While reaching the decision to kill their bosses is still outlandish, it was  at least nice to have a little nod towards intelligence.

There are few films where I think that should’ve had more time. Most of the films that are coming out these days could leave a good half hour of their films on the cutting room floor. Horrible Bosses comes in at 98 minutes, which is decent for a comedy, but it seemed to go by so quick and there were so many great characters that I felt each of them could’ve been fleshed out a little bit more. While Spacey plays a great role, he kind of hogged screen time from Farrell and Aniston, who were playing equally humorous parts in the story.

So, if you’ve been waiting for a comedy to catch your fancy this summer, and you enjoy yours a little on the dark side, this is the film you’ve been waiting for. The laughs come from start to finish and you will get wrapped up in the great chemistry and misadventures of these eccentric, yet relatable characters.

OVERALL: A-

Pac’s Take:  Horrible bosses excels because of a good script and a great cast.  If you look at some of the great comedies of recent times you’ll probably notice there is a trend, it takes more than one star taking the spotlight to make good comedy, or any good film for that matter, but I think Hollywood is just now starting to realize this.  Ensembles like Old School, Anchorman, andThe Hangover perpetuate this belief; and Horrible Bosses is the next great comedy in a growing list of shared star power.  As Chris stated, the three leads worked well with one another and the chemistry and reality of their friendship connected the audience with their plight.  The supporting cast: Spacey, Farrell, Aniston, and Foxx were excellent as well, though they probably all could have benefited from more screen time.

As evidenced from Farrell's end credit outtakes

 Chris also touched on how well the script covered its bases by forcing its characters into this situation.  Though it’s a comedy, it would have been a distraction to think that these characters resorted to murder when they simply could have quit.  It was a joy to watch their plans spiral out of control and it never felt unnatural as the three leads bumbled through their situation.  I was pessimistic that Charlie Day was going to skate into this film on the success of his role in It’s Alway Sunny in Philadelphia and disappoint his fans (which admittedly, I am not one).  However, I owe credit where it is due because he really shined in this film; and though it was scripted to be this way, he delivered most of the trio’s laughs. 

Finally, it was a joy to see Jennifer Aniston in this role.  There is no doubt that Jennifer Aniston is a talented actress but she’s made her career starring in mindless, boring romantic comedies.  To see her shed that skin (and some clothing) to play the sexually harassing boss of Charlie Day was a refreshing change of pace from her typical fare.  Odds are she’ll return to the same cookie cutter roles she previously occupied, but here’s to hoping this is the start of something new.

According to tabloids, playing crazy isn't much of a stretch for Aniston

The competition this season is not great by any means, leaving Horrible Bosses as a stand out comedy in a weak summer line up. 

OVERALL: A-

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2 Responses to “TAKE TWO: Horrible Bosses”

  1. IamNotPerfect August 9, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    The movie was a solid 8, with a enjoyable story line, fantastic casting, a lot of laughs all the way through, and the additional scenes I’ve by no means seen in a movie, until this one, in the out-takes during the credits, make this a 9. It truly is vulgar, sexual and gross, but a good film for those that are not prudes.

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