Running Time: 98 minutes
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx
Directed By: Seth Gordon
Rating: 4 .5 out of 10
Three friends conspire to murder each other’s bosses in the pursuit of workplace happiness.
This film will have a wide audience as who hasn’t had a terrible boss either real or imagined? I have had excellent bosses and I have had ones that made me want to grab an axe and go all Jack Torrance on their ass, so I was looking forward to this movie. I was left disappointed though as the leading funny men ultimately couldn’t live up to their boss counterparts. Horrible Bosses is the story of three friends (Nick, Dale, Kurt) in very different situations at their jobs. The consensus though is that they each hate their boss’s for varying reasons and decide to murder them. The trio plan and try to execute these murders to less than desirable results.
It was apparent quite early on that this film was not going to be able to sustain the comedy for the entire film. It is due to the fact the bosses were the best part about the film and they have limited screen time. After a pretty funny introduction to each of the three friends and their respective bosses, the film gets underway. You shouldn’t be fooled by this introduction though as it is the best part of the film. Nick’s boss is a hardass, Dale’s boss is a sexual harasser, and Kurt’s boss is just a dick. Together they plot to kill each other’s bosses in the pursuit of happiness. In this pursuit they trip and fumble their way through the plotting and execution of the murders. They do reconnaissance on their boss’s homes that ends up in spilled cocaine, a hyperactive cat, and hitting up a less then reputable bar all in the name of being happy. I guess what really got to me was the three friends awkwardly roaming the city and getting into ridiculous situations that inspire little mirth. For every funny scene where one of their bosses yells at them, there are 3 unfunny scenes to knock the film back to earth. Like when they run into one of their old high school buddies at a pub and he offers them sexual favors for money. This is neither clever nor funny and it really drains the energy form the film.
This film is proof positive that when you stick three funny guys together that your movie is not guaranteed a success. Nick is played by Jason Bateman, Dale is played by Charlie Day, and Kurt is played by Jason Sudeikis. They are average in their individual roles and completely obnoxious together. Bateman seemed to be coasting in this one as the smarter and straight laced character. Charlie Day played one of the most obnoxious characters I can remember in any movie in 2012. He reminds me of a skinnier and higher pitched Artie Lang. I hated this role and for some reason his character is a sex offender and he just screams his way through this film. Lastly is Jason Sudeikis playing the smooth and kind of dickish ladies man. I didn’t buy him in the role for a second and he did virtually nothing with it. They have zero chemistry as friends and just fight and bicker their way through most of this movie to less than stellar results.
Their bosses were another story. Nick’s boss is played by Kevin Spacey and while not that funny, he does play the quintessential hard ass boss to a tee. Could you imagine killing him? In a heartbeat and that was why his role worked. Dale’s boss was played by Jennifer Aniston and she delivers as a dentist in a crazy sex addict role. A woman sexually harassing a man was a funny angle and Aniston looked like she was having fun in this movie. She does a good job with the role as she walks around the office making sexual innuendos and is scantily clad. Lastly is Kurt’s boss played by Colin Farrell and he was truly funny as a coked up, dick of a boss. He is crude and offensive and was perfect in the role. The three bosses outshone their employee counter parts and really stole the show in this one.
And so the film doesn’t really get any deeper than the three friends being idiots together and going from one contrived situation to the next. They break into houses, stake out places, and try and avoid the cops. They never hit that comedy sweet spot in both execution or in the humor. The film has an R rating but besides from some swearing it has a very PG-13 vibe to it which also confused me. The film ends pretty stupidly but I guess this was in line with the rest of this poorly mashed together film.
Director Seth Gordon does an okay job with the film but ultimately fails with the overall product. The script is a mess as the three friends get themselves in to some pretty stupid situations over and over and over again. The main problem though is the three friends would never be friends as they are so opposite to each other personality wise. Their internal bickering and naiveté about murdering someone is hard to sit through. Their bosses make the film though as you could picture killing them all and they are all funny. The pacing was good but the humor never gets to a sustainable level. This film has some moments but not enough to make it a worthwhile watch.
I cannot recommend this film as ultimately the three leads just didn’t connect with me on any level.
T Factor + If you find Charlie Day funny than this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like crude humor then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Office Space, Employee of the Month.