Posted November 10, 2011 by Matthew Looker in DVD/Blu-ray

Horrible Bosses

Everyone has had a boss that they’ve hated. Some may have even had homicidal daydreams about offing them.

Everyone has had a boss that they’ve hated. Some may have even had homicidal daydreams about offing them.

Well, now we no longer have to confine these dark thoughts to our imagination, as Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day play out the ultimate immoral fantasy. The problem with fantasies though is that they tend not to be very realistic.

As is the case here. Bateman, Sudeikis and Day play three friends who all have the hump with their boss. Nick’s (Bateman) manager is a cruel egotist with no conscience (Spacey), Kurt’s (Sudeikis) is a jumped-up, paranoid man spending company resources on drugs and partying (Farrell), and Dale’s (Day) is a sexually harassing predator trying to blackmail him into intercourse (Aniston). Together the three decide to work together and kill off their insufferable bosses.

In what is a highly humorous comedy, there are already holes to be picked in the basic premise. Are we really to believe that these generally good people would resort to murder? Have they really exhausted all other options first – whatever happened to trying a whistleblowing scheme or whatever the US equivalent is of the Citizens Advice Bureau? And then, if it is indeed the case that the characters have no other choice but to commit murder, are we really supposed to root for them in carrying out this crime? Even within the framework of this very silly comedy, killing someone for being a horrible nuisance just seems too harsh.

It helps though that all of the three main comedy actors are on fine form, with Bateman delivering typical deadpan reactions, Day providing slapstick silliness and Sudeikis falling somewhere in the middle. Their thunder is somewhat stolen, however, by Aniston’s shocking turn as the constantly horny dentist, Dr Julia Harris, saying things that you thought you’d never hear coming out of Rachel Green’s mouth, and Colin Farrell as the pitch-perfectly tasteless Bobby Pellit who easily has the film’s best lines.

Jamie Foxx also makes an entertaining cameo as Dean ‘Motherf*cker’ Jones, a criminal that the guys hire to advise them on their murderous mission. However, despite being the kind of showy casting that should steal the movie, Foxx’s unpredictable, twitching mannerisms come on a little too strong. Just like the reveal of his sniggersome name, the film thinks this character is a lot funnier than he really is.

And this is evidence of how the film spreads itself a little too thinly without ever really delivering the big laughs. Perhaps if there was just one Horrible Boss to off (and of the three, Colin Farrell’s Bobby Pellit would be the one to keep), the film could gain more plausibility and allow for a sharper script.

Having said that, this was always going to be a movie of silly characters and farcical situations. Between the comedy of the bumbling heroes and the sheer joy at seeing established actors in outrageously exaggerated roles (particularly Jennifer Aniston being extremely inappropriate and oversexed) makes for thoroughly enjoyable watching.

Matthew Looker