Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: "Horrible Bosses"

Horrible Bosses was on my list of maybes for the summer season. It features actors from two of my favourite television series, Jason Bateman from Arrested Development and Charlie Day from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Throw in Jason Sukeikis and add some veteran actors like Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell in supporting roles, and you have the talent to make a profitable comedy. Fortunately, director Seth Gordon enables his actors to shine even with an uneven screenplay. Unfortunately, Jason Bateman gives an uninspired performance and with his upcoming film, The Change-Up, I wonder if he is even trying these days. While Bateman was not at his best, it is Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey who offer the best performances. Aniston was desperately in need of a good film role and she sinks her teeth into the sex-crazed boss. Horrible Bosses does not offer anything new to the comedy genre and tries to mimic the success of The Hangover's raunchy comedy, but it uses a very common problem and puts a twisted spin on it. Anyone who has ever had a job has had some ill will towards their boss at some point, and the film understands this. I doubt many would actually go through with plots to murder their superiors, but the film would be no fun if they did not try. One reason Horrible Bosses works is the interplay between employee and boss. The chemistry between Jason Sudeikis and Colin Farrell and between Charlie Day and Jennifer Aniston is hilarious. Jason Bateman and Kevin Spacey have potential together, but it sometimes lacks the same intensity as the others. Horrible Bosses is raunchy and funny comedy with a well-matched cast, and is the second best blockbuster comedy I have seen this summer behind Bridesmaids.

Nick (Bateman) works for Dave Harken (Spacey) at a financial firm. He had been working long hours hoping for a promotion only for Dave to give the promotion to himself. Dale (Day) works as a dental hygienist for Julia (Aniston), who sexually harasses him constantly at work. Julia blackmails him to ensure that Dale cannot do anything about it. Kurt (Sudeikis) loves his job at a chemical company owned by Jack (Donald Sutherland), but things change when Jack Pellitt dies and his son Bobby Pellitt (Ferrell) takes over. The three friends frequently meet for a beer after work, and one night Kurt jokingly suggests that they murder their bosses. Dale is against it until Julia invites his fiancee Stacey (Lindsay Sloane) for a checkup and shows him pictures she took while he was unconscious. The guys drive to a dangerous part of town where they meet Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx) who agrees to help them for $5000. They think they are paying him to murder their bosses but when they pay him they discover he is only taking money to be a murder consultant and only offers them advice. While staking out out their bosses, they learn that Harken is severely allergic to peanuts and that Pellitt is heavily addicted to cocaine. The plan is for Kurt to stake out Julia while Nick laces Pellitt's cocaine with rat poison and Dale puts peanuts into Harken's shampoo. The plan does not go according to plan whatsoever and the guys find themselves in trouble with the law and eventually have one sadistic boss trying to kill them.

The pacing of Horrible Bosses is relatively quick. Barely lasting more than ninety minutes, the film does not allow itself to linger on any plot inconsistencies. It does have its problems, but the film is mostly a fantasy and must be treated as such. There are so many outrageous moments that we must take the story with a grain of salt. The actors shine because the story is character driven and the stars do sink their teeth into the roles. The supporting actors are the stars, and the brief cameo appearances from Donald Sutherland and Julie Bowen (as Mrs. Harken) are great. I also want to give a shout out to Wendell Pierce and Chad Coleman, both former stars of The Wire. Overall, I wanted there to be more chemistry between Nick, Kurt and Dale. Each of the three have comedic timing with their bosses, but the story is supposed to be a Wolfpack-escape Hangover wannabe. And to be more critical, Jason Sudeikis' Kurt seems to be the most level-headed of the three, but it seemed a little too raunchy when he ended up having sex with both Julia and Mrs. Harken. Horrible Bosses tries a little too hard at times and could have sharper jokes and direction, but it is nonetheless funny summer fare about a topic we have all considered.

My rating: 3 stars out of 4.

No comments:

Post a Comment