You know that friend you hang around because he’s hilarious and doesn’t bring you down with drama all the time? He’s kind of simple and shallow, but he’s good company. That pretty much encapsulates Horrible Bosses. It’s simple, flawed and hilarious.
This movie is deceptively simple, so I’ll describe it as such: Horrible Bosses is about three 30-something guys who are diligent and thoughtful employees of their respective work places. Everything is hunky dory for them… except that their bosses are, uh, horrible. Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis and Jason Bateman play our heroes while Kevin Spacey, Collin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston round out the cast of horrible bosses. Since these guys can’t quit their jobs like normal people, they decide to kill their bosses for the benefit of the greater good (Hint: Themselves).
Join us after the jump to see how these boys make with the funny…
The film starts out strong as it grabs you with contemporary editing techniques such as what I call “frame text” as text fills the frame for comedic effect. There’s also some voice-over work from the characters as they tell you about who they are, what’s great about their job and what effing sucks about it (Hint: It’s horrible). From there, the film moves at a brisk pace into the 2nd act, the plan to kill their bosses.
The film’s bosses are among the highlights… at first. As soon as we enter the 2nd act, the jokes then become about our heroes’ interactions with each other. I felt that there could have been more comedic interactions with the bosses and our struggling heroes along the way, perhaps for added hatred and fuel to kill them off, but the movie instead uses them for plot points as the film progresses. It would have been nice to keep these bosses’ hilariously bad personalities in our minds along the way, but it didn’t detract from the overall experience. Bateman, Day and Sudeikis all play hilariously off each other and rarely miss an opportunity to make a situation funny, though their chemistry isn’t always perfect and the material sometimes seems forced, possibly to keep the tone consistent. I felt that the music score could have been more suitable for some of the scenes and played to more comedic effect instead of seeming misappropriated from an action thriller.
It’s a minor complaint, but one I feel is worth noting: Watching Charlie Day’s hilarious performance made me yearn to watch more It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I normally wouldn’t think that way if I saw, for example, Steve Carell in a movie, but perhaps it feels like this movie employs the same kind of perverse situation that might occur on that show. In fact, I might have enjoyed the movie better if the two other actors from that show were in the film instead of Bateman and Sudeikis, since their chemistry is so incredibly spot-on. Never-the-less, this does not hamper the movie’s enjoyment level and only serves my own bias towards it. Bateman and Sudeikis do a good job of providing Day with proverbially abusive parental exchanges as he plays up his little-crack-boy-high-on-pixie-sticks routine.
As the film spirals toward its end (forever at that brisk pace) numerous plot devices are utilized from as far back as 20 minutes into the movie. These adeptly solve all pre-existing plot points in a rather clever manner. I can’t say the movie is brilliant, but that’s pretty damn cool.
This is a funny movie, but it may not be funny to everyone. I believe the hilarity stems from the character interactions and situational humor, while it seems pretty devoid of any conceptual, intellectual or societal humor… and I’m completely fine with that. This movie doesn’t strive to be anything but entertaining and hilarious in its own way, which it is most of the time. It’s not here to win awards or change a whole generation. Though, that isn’t to say it has a dumb or shallow script. I was surprised in some places by the clever foreshadowing and plot devices to really drive the story home. The emphasis isn’t on character arcs or thematic conclusions, but on telling a simple story in a funny and satisfying way. However, the film does lose points for not being terribly original or trying anything too bold for its intended audience. That being said, perhaps it’s for the best.
In conclusion, Horrible Bosses is like The Dude from The Big Lebowski: Simple, good-hearted and damned hilarious.
Overall Score: 6.60 – Okay. (6s are just okay. These movies usually have many flaws, didn’t try to do anything special, or were poorly executed. Some will still love 6s, but most prefer to just rent them. Watch more trailers and read more reviews before you decide.)