A lot of people can relate to having a horrible boss, and I’m sure on more than one occasion they wished they could kill their boss. Hopefully none of you followed through on that idea but here “Horrible Bosses” uses that very same premise. A group of workers has had enough of their bosses and have decided to ban together to murder them. Doesn’t sound like the ideal for a comedy instead it sounds more like an episode of “Law and Order” (which oddly enough is referenced on more than one occasion here). “Horrible Bosses” may be too rude and it’s plot featuring premeditated murder may be too much for some but for others “Horrible Bosses” is a sloppy but undeniably funny comedy that benefits heavily on the strength of its main stars.
“Horrible Bosses” follows three everyday workers through their jobs. The one thing in common, they all hate their jobs, and the catalyst behind that hate is their horrible bosses. Each one with their own unique situation, an evening of discussion over a couple drinks leads to them deciding that it’s time for their bosses to be taken out, murdered.
Murder isn’t any new subject matter for a comedy to tackle. Comedies have been tackling murder since before the days of Abbott and Costello in “Who Done It” from way back in 1942. However not many of them tackle the protagonists planning and plotting murder as their subject matter. In doing this, it’s very easy for someone to make the mistake of overplaying their hand and making the comedy too dark where the audience will turn on you. That being said the screenwriters were very smart about pushing the boundary just enough without the viewer becoming uncomfortable.
That level of comfort comes mostly from “Horrible Bosses” cast of likeable actors and characters. Headlining the film is the three star punch of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis. Each are distinctive and funny in their own way. Bateman plays the character he normally plays in comedies by bringing a straight man approach. While in contrast Charlie Day is crazy, over the top and full of energy just before the point of annoyance. Day continues to be one of my favorite comedic actors that seems to be rising through the comedy acting ranks. Sudeikis (much like Bateman) plays the same role we’re use to seeing him in and at times feels like the straight man but pushes his character just enough where he isn’t the straight man but also isn’t the over the top crazy guy that Day plays.
Part of the reason this film is just so damn watchable is because of these three actors and their brilliant on screen chemistry together. Much like “The Wolf Pack” from “The Hangover”, this is a group of friends and characters that you just instantly want to see on screen together again.
Opposing each of these characters is their equally diverse eccentric bosses. The first is Kevin Spacey; playing one of the biggest corporate dick bags in recent comedy history. Spacey can do no wrong and shines through in his at times over zealous performance and showcases once again he is an actor of range and talent. The second boss is played by Jennifer Aniston. An issue you may have with the film as a whole is the main actors playing the same character they have from previous films but Aniston does not have that problem here. Ditching her normal romantic comedy roles in favor of something far more edgy, Aniston play a sex obsessed dentist that will stop at nothing to get Charlie Day into bed with her. The third and final boss is played by the wickedly talent but often overlooked actor Colin Farrel. A druggie boss out to get Sudeikis, he is more than willing to cut jobs so he can save a few bucks to buy more hookers and drugs.
With this type of talent behind it, the movie hits it’s comedy marks time after time again. The story puts our characters in hilarious plots and scenarios that have you guessing, how in the hell do they plan to get of this one? The film earns it’s R rating but the filmmakers are smart enough to restrain themselves at risk of losing the audience’s pathos.
Is this movie perfect? No actually far from it. The film has it’s occasional structure and pacing problems. At times it does hit some somewhat short but noticeable lulls where the jokes are misfiring and not hitting their mark. This is also not very disciplined and the script is pretty loose and not tightly woven; which is a small complaint in a comedy because if this makes you laugh most of these flaws can be over looked.
The fact that I enjoyed the characters so much that I’m actually looking forward “Horrible Bosses 2” should tell you all you need to know. It’s not quite as good as other recent R rated comedies like “Hangover” or “Ted” but it’s better than others like “This is the End”. “Horrible Bosses” is far from perfect and you’ll either be able to roll with the premise or not, however if you can give yourself over to it you’ll have a great time.