Everyone has fantasizes about if not killing, then at least doing grievous bodily harm on an employer. The guys in “Horrible Bosses,” a new comedy starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, actually do something about it.
Chances are you’ve never had a boss as mean, manipulating or just plain odd as the bosses in this movie. These people make Genghis Khan look like an equal opportunity employer. Bateman works for Kevin Spacey, a corporate shark not above exploiting his workers and then taking a promotion and pay raise for himself. The cast’s other Jason, Sedaris, is saddled with Colin Farrell an unscrupulous coke head with a bad attitude and an even worse comb over. Finally 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 decide to do the only thing a reasonable person would do—kill their bosses.
OK, I was joking about the reasonable person part. Of course no reasonable person would try to hire a hit man on the Internet or break into their bosses homes looking for ways to kill them, but this is a comedy so we’ll accept that. Or will we? The movie stars off strong, funny and well paced but it’s central premise—let’s kill our bosses!—seems forced and it sucks some of the funny from the middle part of the movie.
There are laughs for sure, but the bungling of the crucial set up scene left me feeling like I was watching a funny enough movie marred with a silly premise.
The cast holds up well. The Jasons bring their usual brand of well practiced funny, and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star Charlie Day is a funny find but thesis rises here are Farrell and Aniston. We’ve seen Spacey do this kind of thing before, the manic boss with no scruples (ie: “Swimming with Sharks”) but his cast mates are breaking some new ground. Farrell throws vanity out the window to play a drug addled loser with a penchant for cocaine and masseuses. He’s funny and edgy and does work here unlike we’ve seen before from him.
Aniston leaves her America’s Sweetheart persona behind to play a foul mouthed predator with a bad habit of using gas as foreplay. If this doesn’t wipe away any traces of Rachel left over from her TV work, I don’t know what will.
“Horrible Bosses” is a darkly funny employee revenge film that mostly works, I just wish the motivation felt more authentic.