In one of the most popular disgruntled-office-worker movies, the guys only wanted to steal from the company as revenge. For the guys in Horrible Bosses, it’s so bad that they think murder is the only way out.
While murder is extreme, it’s fitting and funny here because these are definitely not the guys you would identify as hardened criminals in a police lineup. The stars, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, are just some Average Joe-type buddies who seem to go about their business without stepping on any toes.
Bateman’s character, Nick Hendricks, has basically given up everything important to him, and has no life outside of work, for the opportunity to move up to middle management at his job. But his boss (Kevin Spacey … he’s a fun bad guy) has other ideas.
Nick’s friend Kurt (Sudeikis) loves his accountant job and loves his boss Jack (Donald Sutherland). Then Murphy’s Law happens — Jack suddenly drops dead and his drug-addict son Bobby (Colin Farrell) takes over the company.
Dale (Day) is in the seemingly enviable position of being a dental assistant to the very attractive Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). The soon-to-be-married Dale is a firm believer in monogamy and finds Dr. Julia’s sexual advances extremely uncomfortable.
(Time out here. I can’t imagine any man wanting to kill a boss that looks like Aniston. I understand the shock value in making the good-girl, rom-com queen Aniston a potty-mouthed nymphomaniac, but I think it would have been more believable if it was an unattractive woman or an older (I’m thinking Betty White’s age group) woman. I’ll give Day some credit here … I’m sure it wasn’t easy to pretend to be horrified by Aniston’s propositions.)
One night over drinks, the guys decide their lives would be a lot better if their bosses weren’t around anymore. Of course, they’re all too afraid to do the dirty work themselves.
In a funny scene, they try to find a hit man from Craigslist, and when that fails, they head to a seedy bar on the bad side of town. Jamie Foxx packs a lot of punch into a small role as the guys’ murder consultant (with an expletive-laden name not fit for print). His negotiating skills are quite admirable.
Director Seth Gordon (Four Christmases) keeps the pace brisk and the laughs are frequent in the script from writers Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.
The 9-to-5 grind has its challenges, and the subject of this dark comedy probably hits pretty close to home for a lot of people. I know I can relate to having been burned a time or two by a horrible boss in my career.
At its core, Horrible Bosses is another raunchy R-rated comedy in a summer that already has given us The Hangover Part II, Bridesmaids and Bad Teacher. I appreciated the lack of toilet humor in this one, since some of the other films have taken it too far lately.
The cast works well together and there are lots of laughs. The villains are fun to hate, and though the ending is a bit weak, Horrible Bosses is one of the better comedies to hit theaters this summer. ••
Movie Grade: B+