The bosses in this movie make Genghis Khan look like an equal opportunity employer. Jason Bateman works for corporate shark Kevin Spacey. Jason Sudeikis has coke-head Colin Farrell and his comb-over. Charlie Day works for Jennifer Aniston, a dentist who uses laughing gas as a sex toy. All are stuck in their jobs and fed up with the daily humiliation offered in their workplaces and decide to terminate their bosses — literally.
Movie writer Phil Brown is sitting in for Mark Breslin this week.
Richard Crouse: Phil, of course no reasonable person would break into their bosses home looking for ways to kill them, but this is a comedy so we’ll accept that. Or will we? I thought the movie started off strong, funny and well paced, but its central premise — let’s kill our bosses! — seems forced and it sucks some of the funny from the middle part of the movie. What did you think?
Phil Brown: Richard, I’ve got to go the other way. The premise of having a terrible boss that makes your life hell is sadly all too relatable for many, but the opening bad boss gags felt tired even with the R-rated facelift. It didn’t click for me until the murder element turned the movie into a live action cartoon with a sick sense of humour.
RC: Interesting, I felt as though I was watching a funny enough movie marred by a silly premise. It’s one thing to have some drinks and joke about killing your boss, it’s quite another to act on it. I don’t want to beleaguer this point, but the crucial set-up scene to me felt forced, like a weak lead in to a funny punch line. Having said that, Charlie Day made me laugh. A lot.
PB: The whole premise is old and they even name-dropped two movies that did it better (Strangers On A Train and Throw Mamma From The Train). I think we can both agree that things really got rolling in the second half when it deviated from that form. Charlie Day definitely induces pants-wetting laughter consistently and I think the cast made this movie work through an improvisation festival. The only problem is that comedy style kills narrative momentum and there was no real tension in the thriller aspect of the story. Though I suppose the laughs are more important.
RC: And there are plenty of laughs. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here. The movie is funny. It was cool to see Kevin Spacey revive his character Buddy from Swimming with Sharks, and if this doesn’t wipe away any traces of Rachel left over from Jennifer Aniston’s TV work I don’t know what will. Now, I guess, she’s America’s Foul Mouthed Over Sexed Sweetheart.
PB: In my mind, she always will be. Despite the inconsistencies, Horrible Bosses delivers the goods and will always be the only movie featuring Colin Farrell doing a coked-up Michael Keaton impression with a comb-over.
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