Saturday, 15 October 2011
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell
By Alan Bacchus
Bateman/Sudekis/Day make an affable trio in this over-the-top workplace/bromance comedy about three doofuses plotting the murder of their ‘horrible bosses’. It’s a decent though unoriginal premise, but it’s the population of strong actors self-effacing themselves in the name of crude humour that makes the picture a watchable and warm disposable comedy.
Nick (Jason Bateman) is a corporate middle manager subjugating himself to his maniacal boss (Spacey), thinking he’s in line for a promotion to VP. Recently engaged Dale (Charlie Day) is an emasculated dental hygienist subjected to reverse sexual harassment by his cougar-esque dentist boss, Julia (Jennifer Aniston). And Kurt (Jason Sudekis) is a charming playboy suffering underneath the cockhead son (Farrell) of his recently deceased boss.
After Dale is blackmailed by Julia into performing sexual favours on her, this becomes the straw that broke the camel’s back and the reason to resort to murder. The trio hire an equally dimwitted hitman (Jamie Foxx) to do the job. Instead, as their ‘murder consultant’ he suggests each of them murder the other friend's boss to hide their motives. These bad decisions lead to increasingly outlandish and therefore hilariously disastrous results.
Though we can all relate to the premise of three best friends all stuck in jobs with ego-maniacal bosses making their lives miserable, the film unnecessarily exaggerates the boss’s behaviour, which takes us out of the realm of identifiability. It's a weak start establishing the plight of these guys, but the film gains momentum with the escalation of the plotting and complexities of their schemes in the second act, which pits them as fish out of water in the world of crime.
The casting of Spacey as the psycho egomaniac attempts to rekindle our memories of his fun turn as the hardline movie executive who gets kidnapped by his assistant in Swimming with Sharks. Unfortunately, Spacey is not the same actor he was back then, and mostly everything he does is a bland play off his former roles.
Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston, on the other hand, pull surprising turns in their respective roles. Though his false comb-over is an overused site-gag, Farrell renders his douchebag extraordinaire with full commitment, which is further evidence that he is better at comedy than drama. Aniston, as a conniving man-shark, adequately subverts our expectation of the former Friend as wholesome good girl.
But it’s Foxx as the wannabe gangsta who wears badass head tattoos a la Mike Tyson but also sips his drinks with a straw like a dainty woman that shines the most. His poor math skills make him a hilariously inept businessman and negotiator. Ironically, he becomes the heart and soul of the film.
Horrible Bosses is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Home Video.