If ever there was an award for the worst title to a film, Horrible Bosses would win it hands down. On the other hand, if you are not sure what the film is about, then this should be easy for you to work out. It is about, guess, yes…horrible bosses. Would you be put off for the title? If you like your comedy broad and very low-brow, then you should love it and that’s thanks more to the expert cast than script itself.
Nick works for a company for years and works hard to try and get a promotion. His boss, an egomaniac, has other plans and when he forces Nick to drink scotch early in the morning, uses that as a drinking problem and gives the promotion to himself. Kurt has a happy life working for a nice boss until he dies and the company is handed over to his drug taking son who wants Kurt to fire people for being fat and in a wheelchair. Finally Dale is a dental nurse who is happily engaged but works for a female dentist who loves sexually harassing him. Having enough of being treated bad, the three friends decide the only way to deal with their bosses is to kill them.
This is a cross between Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and the excellent Office Space and for the most part the plot works. The ending is a little less satisfactory but as you follow the planning through, it does deliver some good laughs. This, however, is due to the strength of a cast mixing unknown comic talent with big name stars.
As the three friends, Jason Bateman, who has made a career out of being the frustrated Everyman ever since Arrested Development, should know how to make his character of Nick work and he works well with his fellow comic partners, Jason Sudeikis, last seen in the lacklustre Hall Pass, and Charlie Day, one of the stars of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, who gets the more physical comedy role. As a team, they work really well.
The three bosses make for the more interesting casting. Kevin Spacey is an expert in the role of Nick’s boss, playing a similar character in the underrated Swimming With Sharks. Colin Farrell, almost unrecognisable, is underused as Kurt’s drug-fuelled boss, with a pot-belly and comb-over but doesn’t quite have enough screen time to make a huge impact but when he is, it works. As Dale’s boss, this is as far removed as could possibly be for Jennifer Aniston. If you thought Rachel was sweetness and light in Friends, then think the complete opposite her. She is sex-crazed and takes sexual harassment to the limits and even if it taken to the extreme, I think it’s the best thing that Aniston has done (and she has never looked hotter…is that wrong for me to say?) The final star is Jamie Foxx, as a man the guys find in a bar to get advice for how to kill. Again, Foxx is given little screen time but it makes an impression.
The gags aren’t wonderfully strong, especially when you compare it to the big comedy hit this year, Bridesmaids but it has plenty to enjoy and it’s worth while just to see how to produce a good comedy just by strong performances.
Not brilliant but plenty of entertainment in a world where comedies have been rather lame of late. And don’t be put off by the horrible title.