Directed by: Seth Gordon
Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Anniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Donald Sutherland
Review: ‘Horrible Bosses’ would like you to think that it’s got the comedic chops of a ‘Wedding Crashers’ or a ’40 Year Old Virgin,’ but truth is those movies came along with the perfect sense of comedy at the perfect time and took the country by storm. ‘Horrible Bosses’ doesn’t have that advantage, so it isn’t a game changer for comedies that those movies were, but it is funny nonetheless.
Our main characters are the standard Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day), and Kurt (Sudeikis). Standard in their archetypes, Nick is the consummate family man trying to hold it together as he works his butt off for that promotion that is going to set everything right, Dale is the lovable loser who has the ‘too cute for it’s own good’ relationship, and Kurt is the ‘ladies man’ who loves his job and his single lifestyle. We’ve all seen these characters before and there is nothing new there.
Where there is something new is in the actors themselves. Bateman has had a resurgence in his career in the last 10 years and his charisma along with relative newcomers Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis give enough charm and life to their characters that it feels more fresh than the material originally allows. This, of course, would be the idea behind most comedies, it’s not the material that makes them great, it’s what the actors do with it. It’s why so many comedies fail and yet all have the potential to reach HOF status.
This one does not reach that HOF status, but it finds itself as a solid little comedy that provides some good laughs, albeit no truly memorable ones. As can be gleaned from the trailer, these three characters all find themselves in the position to where their success at their jobs is held up by, you guessed it, horrible bosses above them that are keeping them from reaching the level of success they desire and the true happiness that they’ve convinced themselves comes with it.
Eventually, the three of them decide they are going to try to off each other’s bosses in order to get them out of the way so that they can reach that brass ring they have been reaching for. This is where the hijinx ensue. In order to off their bosses a certain amount of recon will take place for each one, which leads to often precarious situations when one of them is a sexed up coke head, another is a nymphomaniac, and yet another is a paranoid sociopath who is convinced his wife is cheating on him.
The movie sets itself up with a couple pretty good premises that deliver, if not just a little bit less than maybe they could. The movie could have slipped more into the ‘dark comedy’ realm and gotten crazier, but that would lend itself to a much smaller audience. The characters find themselves in situations that usually resolved themselves peacefully without our characters having to get their hands too dirty, and it is this that maybe keeps this from being a truly great comedy.
They could have gone a little further and gotten a few more laughs, but at the expense of alienating close to 25% of their audience. You take the good with the bad with movies such as this and there is more good than bad, so you can’t really complain. All in all, this movie is worth your time.