Horrible Bosses Review: Three Men Plot to Kill Their Bosses in A Tale of Murder, Conspiracy,and Hilarity

The Basics:

The lives of Nick, Dale, and Kurt would be perfect if it wasn’t for one thing; their bosses.  Nick deals with a psychotic sociopath who tortures him day and night just for the fun of it.  Dale has to worry about being sexually assaulted and harassed by his lunatic of a boss.  And Kurt has to contend with his bigot of a boss who plots to fire the fat people and poison thousands of innocent lives.  Finally growing sick of their terrible supervisors, the three plan to kill the men who have been torturing their lives for so long.  But as they soon find out, murder is easier said than done.

Cast: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, and Kevin Spacey

Written By: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, and Jonathon M. Goldstein

Directed By: Seth Gordon

Original Release Date: July 8, 2011

Charlie Day, Jason Suidekis, and Jason Bateman

The Delivery:

If you read my synopsis above, you would probably think that Horrible Bosses is a very dark film.  Heck, you could easily translate the plot of this film into a drama in the vein of The Coen Brothers Fargo. But of course, it’s not.  It’s a comedy, through and through.  The characters in Horrible Bosses don’t pontificate on the consequences of their actions.  They just get high and stick toothbrushes up there ass.  But you know what?  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For the most part, Horrible Bosses is escapist fun.  Well its premise is on the verge of dark comedy, I honestly don’t think the movie itself is.  It’s goofy and fun, but that’s not as huge a flaw as you might think.  The sense of fun actually benefits this film; if it was to dark, and the characters were to evil, I wouldn’t nearly had as much fun with the film as I did.  As it stands, I had a blast.

You could easily make a point that Horrible Bosses is to “safe.”  If this was an indie film, it would have certainly been dark and disturbing.  But because its a studio picture, Horrible Bosses could never really cross the threshold into darkness and really become a comedy with a point.  Because Horrible Bosses doesn’t really have a point.  Despite all the misdeeds the characters get into, they never really face the consequences of their action.  So it is a little disappointing how everything works its way out in the end.  This isn’t a cautionary tale; the characters (spoiler) all get a happy ending.  It’s not the fact that the characters have a happy ending; no, they’re likeable enough that you want them to succeed.  But the path they go through to get to that point is pretty unfulfilling.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say the term “deus ex machina” comes to mind.

Kevin Spacey, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day

But I feel I’ve talked way to much about the dark side of Horrible Bosses. Because, as I’ve already stated, I don’t think making a dark comedy was Horrible Bosses intention at all.  And since this is just a comedy, there’s only one way to gauge its success; did it make me laugh?  And the answer to that is a resounding yes!  I had a great time watching Horrible Bosses, and was laughing throughout.  Yeah, the gags aren’t that clever and the comedy is less than groundbreaking, but for what it is, I qualify Horrible Bosses as a success.

The premiere reason the comedy succeeds in Horrible Bosses is the wonderful chemistry from the stars.  Yeah, the script is funny, but it’s really the actors deliver that makes it work while.  Jason Bateman is great as the straight man, as he almost always is (if you liked him as Michael Bluth in Arrested Development, he’s basically the same character).  I’ve been a fan of Jason Sudeikis since he’s been on SNL, and he too is great in the film.  And Charlie Day?  Freaking Charlie Day.  If this was The Hangover, Charlie Day would be Zack Galifanakis.  He’s great in every scene he’s in.  He literally steals the show.

And what of the titular bosses that populate Horrible Bosses? Well, there a little more underwhelming.  Kevin Spacey is great as Jason Bateman’s psychotic boss, but he’s ultimate characterization is a little to…easy.  Then again, when you have Kevin Spacey, I guess its a logical progression to use him as they do.  Jennifer Aniston was also great as Charlie Day’s sex driven boss, but her character is way to one note and predictable.  And Collin Farrell has maybe five minutes of screen time.  Definitely one of the film’s biggest disappointment, because Farrell was easily the most interesting of all the bosses.  But still, the bosses were little more than walking punchlines.  Still, when it comes to a high caliber comedy cast, very few movies can beat Horrible Bosses.

Charlie Day and Jennifer Aniston

The Scorecard:

Acting-This is really what makes the film.  Special attention must be given to Charlie Day, who steals the show as the stupid but lovable Dale.

Directing-Seth Gordon does a capable job of directing the film, but creating your own style in a comedy film is pretty hard. Sadly, even Seth Gordon couldn’t strike a style all of his own.

Writing-The gags are simple and the plot wraps itself up all to quickly, but the dialogue itself is pretty hilarious.

Sound-Your standard set of comedy bleeps and bloops.  Not to exciting.

Visuals=Like the sound, it’s pretty standard.  Nothing bad, but nothing particularly memorable either.

Collin Farrell

Overall:

Well Horrible Bosses never rises above standard comedy formula, its funny enough and the leads are great enough to warrant a trip to the theater.  If you want to laugh this summer, Horrible Bosses seems to be your best bet.

Score: 8 out of 10

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Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis

Loose Thoughts:

-All the bosses in this film are the worst human beings imaginable.  One’s a would be murderer, one’s a rapist, and one’s addicted to crack.  They’re like every boss, you know.

-Speaking of bosses, Donald Sutherland is in this film for 5 minutes.  Yeah, that was cool.

-Jennifer Aniston eating a banana, popsicle, and hot dog?  Yeah…you can go away now Cameron, I think there’s a hotter woman in a comedy this year.

-Ioan Gruffudd (Mr. Fantastic) makes an…interesting cameo.

-And finally, Jamie Foxx’s character is named Motherfucker Jones.  That is all.