Horrible Bosses

When cinema historians look back on the great comedy teams they’ll inevitably have to include Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis. The two first appeared theatrically in 2010’s Going the Distance. They were good in that Drew Barrymore vehicle but the chemistry hinted at was only an appetizer to the feast we experience in Horrible Bosses. Add to the mix Jason Bateman who has never acted with these two and you get a threesome of comic brilliance possibly unmatched in idiocy since The Three Stooges. I mean that as a compliment.

Our chronicle concerns three men who have dreadful bosses. Out of this premise we learn that life has become so unbearable they entertain the notion of actually doing away with them. Yup, we’re talking murder. That reprehensible foundation produces a myriad of situations that are thoroughly mined for humor. This is a series of sketches united in a funny story that serves a purpose to a logical conclusion. Granted, it’s smartly written, but the adventure works so well because of the utter likeability of our three protagonists.

Jason Bateman is the straight man, the relatable one that is the voice of reason. He’s forever exasperated at the ridiculousness of the other two. He gets laughs simply from his double takes and facial expressions. You can almost see what he’s thinking. In Three Stooges vernacular, he would be Moe essentially. Charlie Day is the complete moron, Curly if you will. In an apparent move to grant his lack of aptitude believability, he accidentally inhales a dust cloud of cocaine at one point. Don’t ask, just watch. From that moment, the writers are able to have him do anything, because, he’s hopped up on cocaine after all. His behavior is ridiculous, but it makes sense so it’s preposterous in an “intelligent” way. Jason Sudeikis is Larry I suppose, but with a more lecherous personality. He’s focused, unless it involves a beautiful woman. His weakness for the fairer sex often impedes his judgment. He’s kind of a blockhead as well, but not as bad as Charlie Day‘s character.

None of this would even work if we didn’t have some pretty wicked bosses to focus our anger on. They’re brought to life by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell. Kevin Spacey is particularly hateful. In scenes with Jason Bateman he plays a game of cat and mouse of words designed to trip him up with the simple intent of making him squirm. It’s a delightfully nasty performance and I don’t think I’ve seen Spacey embody an individual this memorable since American Beauty. Jennifer Anniston also takes delight in her part as a sexually harassing dentist. She plays contrary to her typical girl-next-door image. The role seems to conceal her admittedly limited acting range. She clearly relishes being cast against type and the portrayal is sidesplitting. Colin Farrell has probably the most underwritten of the three. A lot of his chuckles come from the visual joke of a handsome leading man playing such an unpleasant tool with an atrocious comb over. He’s surprisingly unrecognizable.

Horrible Bosses is a hilarious film. This is definitely an adult comedy, vulgar, to be sure, but unquestionably clever. The labyrinthine plot takes you places that explore a narrative that is fun and enjoyable. If I had a criticism, it’s that the movie was so hysterical, it ended too soon. Everything is tidied up rather quickly and I would have liked to see a more creative resolution. Still, that critique hides a compliment. Go see Horrible Bosses if you want to laugh your head off. Just leave the kiddies at home.

7 Responses to “Horrible Bosses”

  1. This is definitely worth seeing. Very raunchy, but hilarious. Every character was perfectly cast. I would see this again.


  2. magnolia12883 Says:

    Yes! Too fuckin’ funny – still I think Michael Winterbottom’s THE TRIP is the funniest film of 2011 but BRIDESMAIDS and this round out the top 3 so far…


    • Although it’s animated, I’d have to also include Rango for sheer laughs. I laughed hysterically at that film as well.


      • magnolia12883 Says:

        Yeah RANGO is probably in the top 5 funniest films of the year… SUBMARINE (for me at least) might be in the top 5 as well (of funniest films this year but I’d have to look at every film I’ve seen this year so far to know for sure…)


  3. Amazing review, Mark! You keep topping yourself with each one 🙂 I’m dying to watch Horrible Bosses; its cast is AMAZING.


  4. I love to laugh. Therefore, I love HORRIBLE BOSSES. Mark thank you & I definitely agree with your review. There are far too many reasons to list when recommending this movie. Number one – of course being the incredibly funny & talented cast. The leads (Bateman, Sudeikis & Day) are perfect for each other & I’ve been a fan of all three for years now, so it’s no surprise that this film is awesome. Number two – a hilarious script that tickles your funny bone without condescending to it’s audience. Number three – & the only real reason to come to the theater; it will make you laugh your ass off! No need to list anymore reasons than that.


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