Thursday, September 15, 2011

Horrible Bosses - 2011

"Horrible Bosses" - 2011
Dir. by Seth Gordon - 1 hr. 38 min.

Red Band Trailer

by Clayton Hollifield

This is the second film I've seen where Kevin Spacey plays a boss who terrorizes his underlings to the point of physical retribution (the first being "Swimming With Sharks").  Sure, that other movie was nearly 20 years ago, but Spacey's so good at being an overbearing boss that I look forward to another one of these kinds of movies in another 20 years or so.  I'm not sure which approach I prefer, though.

In contrast to "Swimming With Sharks," a darkly humorous indie film, "Horrible Bosses" has three buddies who all hate their bosses (and not without good reason), and end up talking themselves into killing the bosses to escape their shared, separate unbearable situations.  Kevin Spacey plays Jason Bateman's boss, who has been dangling a promotion in front of him in order to extract ridiculous hours and performance out of him.  Colin Farrell plays Jason Sudeikis' boss, a cokehead fuck-up who inherits a chemical company and a disdain for his father's ethics.  And Jennifer Aniston plays a sexually aggressive dentist who keeps harassing the freshly engaged (and also registered sex offender) Charlie Day.

The most obvious movie to compare this to is "Office Space," in the sense that it shows people who are completely unequipped to pull off major crime bumbling through the process.  And while the characters' intense frustration with their work situations is the basis of what comes, the point of the movie is showing these three guys (Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day) interacting and screwing things up.  After watching years of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," it's kind of strange watching Charlie Day try to act in a morally positive manner, but not to fear, he still has plenty of opportunities to show off his manic persona.  In an early scene, the three men break into Farrell's apartment to do some "recon," which ends up with Day and Bateman accidentally ingesting some cocaine.  Boom, Day is wound up like a watch.

Yes, killing your boss for personal gain is a dark plot, but considering that there are predecessor movies with this same idea, I can't hold that against "Horrible Bosses."  Besides, the bosses are caricatures, there's little attempt to paint them as anything more than monsters who have earned their fate.  But the biggest positive to the movie is that it's funny.  The characters work well (the bumbling criminals idea is built to last), and the smaller cameo roles are pretty good, too (especially Jamie Foxx, playing a "murder consultant" named Motherfucker Jones, which gets funnier every time it rolls off of someone's tongue").  I was actually laughing out loud, not just chuckling, and that's not too shabby.

3 / 5 - Theatre

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