Friday, July 8, 2011

Horrible Bosses: Movie Review

Adding coarse and sexual content to make a plot-rich story funny.

In the vein of "The Hangover" (2009), "Horrible Bosses" has three friends taking a wild trip to—well, jail, most likely. They mean well, but when you spend your free time drinking at a bar complaining about your bosses, reckless plans are bound to be hatched. But I'm glad they do. It's a premise with lots of possibilities, never quite knowing which turns they would take, and they were all hilarious.2011

Directed by: Seth Gordon

Screenplay by: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein

Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis

The wild heights they reach are mostly with profanity and sexual explicitness. In fact, there’s an entire scene about where the “line” is and if they’ve crossed it. As you can guess, that line has long since been crossed, re-drawn and repeatedly crossed.

At the beginning we meet our three protagonists, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) working in decent jobs but for crazy assholes. Their bosses all have titles, but it would be wrong of me to string that many expletives together.

They’re not being serious about killing their bosses, but before we know it they’re putting together haphazard, drunken plans. It’s the type of story that seems plausible at first but then somewhere along the way, we don’t really know where, reality is thrown out the window. It’s an R-rated comedy where the plot is central, characters are secondary but still important, and last but not least there are funny lines. For that, it’s smart.

The dark comedy works because of the ensemble of characters, the three hapless adventurists and their really horrible bosses, each played by actors who can say comedy lines with straight faces and aren’t scared to get dirty. Some are just really good and what they normally do, like Bateman as the normal, straight man and Sudeikis as the obnoxious womanizer. While others are stepping out of their comfort zone and showing some real comedy skills, like Jennifer Aniston as an over-the-top, inappropriate seductress and Colin Farrell as a skinny, coked-out criminal. Kevin Spacey, equally adept at comedy and drama, is of course great here. I don’t know Charlie Day all that well but he made me laugh in “Going the Distance” and he made me laugh really hard here. His whiny voice is perfect for the role of Dale because he’s manic and paranoid to begin with but with his head in a bowl of cocaine he’s going to need to become even more manic and paranoid.

“Horrible Bosses” is more silly than it is dark as the crimes occur after we’ve been removed from reality. But it’s also as funny as pure comedies come. This is one of those movies that need to be as profane and sexually explicit as it is. “Horrible Bosses” does it all with plot and jokes which are inventive and funny.
Best of 2011


The Hangover (2009) - An outrageous comedy but with well written characters and a story.

Suicide Kings (1997) - A dark story of committing crimes but it's smart and funny too.