Horrible Bosses

So you love everything about your job except one thing: your boss is a total asshole. Or psycho. Or crazy insane bitch. What’s a mid-level employee to do? Kill your boss. At least, that’s the concept of Horrible Bosses.

Three best friends (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day) have hit a rough patch in their offices. Nick (Bateman) has woken up at dawn, worked weekends, and ditched important family events to secure a promotion from his boss (Kevin Spacey) – who then awards the promotion to himself. Kurt (Sudeikis) finds himself working underneath his late boss’ son (Colin Farrell) – a coked-up, paranoid douchebag who plans on running the company into the ground and living off the profits. And Dale (Day) is recently engaged and facing unwanted sexual advances from his boss (Jennifer Aniston) who will stop at nothing (not even blackmail) to get what she wants.

Horrible Bosses is (thankfully) grounded in some semblance of reality. The boys don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that killing their bosses is the only way out of their predicament. Instead, it begins as a hypothetical situation over beers that none of them are actually serious about. That is, until they realize they can’t quit their jobs (the Recession is still affecting the job market) and their bosses become increasingly more abusive. Killing it is then. The decision is a bit more complex than that (it takes up most of the first act for the trio to decide on murder as a course of action) but it catapults the film into the hilarious set-pieces that follow.

The best comic material of the film comes from the attempts of three ordinary guys to commit a heinous crime. They know that they aren’t qualified to pull off a clean murder without getting caught, so the first thing they do is try to hire a hit-man…by going on Craigslist. Eventually, they run into “Motherfucker” Jones (Jamie Foxx) a “murder consultant” who offers to help them kill their bosses for an exorbitant fee – and who also has a telling back story about how he got his nickname. From there, the laughs don’t stop as the bumbling amateur murderers get closer to carrying out their plan.

Horrible Bosses reminded me of a Three Stooges skit, if the Stooges decided they wanted to go down a darker path and avoid the “poking each other’s eyeballs” gag to invest in duct tape and heavy-duty rope. The palpable chemistry of the leads is what truly makes the movie a winner. The leads are perfectly cast, even if Charlie Day plays the same role from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Jason Bateman from Arrested Development (Sudiekis manages to avoid his 30 Rock persona by not being impossibly sensitive and understanding). It’s a perfect balance between manic (Day) and restrained (Bateman).

There are too many great sequences to talk about – any scene with Motherfucker Jones, the “wet work” scene, the during-the-credits gag reel, etc. Horrible Bosses is well worth the price of admission, and while it doesn’t beat the highs of the 2009 sleeper hit comedy The Hangover, it’s definitely the best comedy in theatres this summer (The Hangover Part II be damned).

Grade: B+

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One Response to Horrible Bosses

  1. Jimmy says:

    I just saw this on the weekend. Went into the theatre with a few hours to kill and low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised!

    I love how Charlie Day’s character turns into Charlie from ‘It’s Always Sunny’ as soon as cocaine enters the equation.

    Lots of laughs to be had. I definitely recommend it.

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