Thursday, 16 February 2012

Film Review #38

Horrible Bosses (2011)
Director: Seth Gordon Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Julie Bowen, Donald Sutherland

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 98 Minutes

Tagline: "Is your boss a sex crazed maneater?"

I'm sure most straight guys (and gay women) would answer the question posed by this film's tagline with: "If she looked like Ms. Aniston - I wish!" I can't imagine for a minute that anything to do with this annoyingly-named film is supposed to be realistic though. Indeed, if you're looking for a work-related film that accurately depicts the daily struggles that most of us have to deal with, you might as well move on right now! This one starts off normally enough by introducing us to each of the titular bosses and their aggrieved staff members in turn. Nick (Bateman) works for a financial firm headed by the sadistic Dave (Spacey) who coaxes countless extra work hours out of Nick with the promise of promotion, Dale (Day) is a recently married dental assistant who's getting sexually-harassed by his perpetually-horny boss, Julia (Aniston), while Kurt (Sudeikis) actually loves working for his boss, Jack (Sutherland), but when Jack dies suddenly, the job of running the company falls to his son, Bobby (Farrell), an incompetent coke-head who also happens to despise Kurt.

The three friends meet every evening in the bar after work to discuss the horrors of their respective days (and no, the other two don't understand why Dale doesn't just 'do' Julia either!). It's during one of these group-moping sessions that one of them jokingly points out how much easier and more enjoyable their lives would be if their bosses weren't around. Cue a few "We can't do that!" and "Hmm, maybe we actually could!" moments and before they know it they're in the most dangerous part of town looking for someone to do the job! Are the bosses annoying? Yes. Do their actions warrant murder? Of course not, but we are nonetheless soon introduced to 'murder consultant', Motherfucker Jones (Foxx) where things escalate from merely 'a bit unrealistic' to 'bloody ridiculous', but is it funny-ridiculous or just stupid-ridiculous?

Of the bosses, the ever-splendid Mr. Spacey gets by far the most screen-time and arguably the best scenes as well. We don't really see too much of Farrell's annoying boss, who comes complete with a far-from-flattering comb-over, but the one that most will remember is the slutty dentist portrayed by the ever-perky Ms. Aniston. I would guess she took the part in an attempt to distance herself from the rom-com-rut she seems to have found herself in but, however appealing it might be for her pervy fans to hear her talking about fingering herself (amongst other things), the character and the many obscenities she uses in an attempt to seduce Dale really don't seem genuine. In a film teeming with unrealistic characters and moments though, she doesn't seem so out of place, especially not in a film where her actions are deemed bad enough to be punishable by death!

As far as the put-upon employees are concerned, Patrick Bateman is becoming a stalwart of deadpan comedic roles like this. He doesn't disappoint here either and is probably the most realistic character in the film. Sudeikis has more of a supporting role than the other two but is still good value as the womanising Kurt, but I think Day steals the show for me. His Dale might be a bit of a whiny wuss but his constant panicking was one of the funniest things about the film! Jamie Foxx is of course wasted in his minimal role as an incompetent hitman but I'm sure he's just having some fun as we are, or as we hopefully are anyway! I certainly had a few laughs watching it too - yes, it's very silly, not terribly realistic, and some more sensitive types might even call it a little racist, but somehow it's still good fun. If you like the sound of the premise, or at least think it's tolerable, it's been executed well enough to make for a pretty entertaining hour-and-a-half.

RKS Score: 7/10


  1. I saw this recently too. Not too bad a film. The only thing I really disliked was the guy whose problem was that Jennifer Anniston was his boss and wanted to sleep with him. It put me off a lot. It made me dislike the character, what was his problem? Just go sleep with her instead of murdering her.

    I don`t mind films being unrealistic, but this didn`t play well at all for me. Maybe it was meant to be funny because it was such an unusual problem for someone to have, but it didn`t work and, unlike most gags that are only on the screen for a couple seconds, this one dragged on for the whole film as a constant reminder of the mediocrity of its writing. It was like the filmmakers were constantly hitting us over the head and saying: `Haha, see? People would normally want to sleep with her, but he doesn`t! Isn`t that so crazy? Funny, right?`

    Other than that though I agree, it was good for a few laughs. I like Jason Bateman a lot, mainly for Arrested Development.

  2. LOL, I tried to post a comment on this a couple of days ago when I was drunk but I think I pushed the wrong button or typed that random phrase in wrong.

    Anyway, I saw this a little while ago too and had a similar reaction. I liked Spacey and would have enjoyed seeing more of Farrel`s character with the comb over. I can`t quite say that I like this movie though. My problem was that Jennifer Anniston subplot. It did not work for me just because it was both unbeleivable and not funny. It was like the filmmakers were saying `Hey look! She wants to sleep with him but he doesn`t sleep with her? Isn`t that wacky? Because most men would want to sleep with Jennifer Anniston! Get it? Ha ha!`

    Every comedy will have at least one gag that doesn`t work. The good thing in most movies though is that those gags are only on screen for two seconds and then the movie goes on and you forget about it. Unfortunately because this subplot lasted the whole film I had the feeling that I was constantly being hit on the head with this one. `See? There they go at it again! Jennifer really wants to sleep with that guy, but boy does he not want to sleep with her! He`ll even murder her before sleeping with her! Now that is COMEDY! Ha!`

  3. Haha, yeah, you're right about that! I like Ms. Aniston a lot, mainly because I'm a closet Friends fan, and also because of her two most noticeable 'attributes' but, as I said in the review, her character just didn't seem believable to me. Maybe the joke would've worked better with a less-attractive actress in the role but even then - mudering someone to get out of having sex with them? Hmmm...

  4. This looks awesome! Hope 2 c with u Easter? :p

  5. I haven't got it, I saw it on the flight home from Brazil! We could get it though, it's probably cheap enough by now... :P