Horrible Bosses (2011)

Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Anniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx

If, like me, you saw the poster for this film, I think you would be forgiven for thinking that it stars Jason Bateman, and two Jason Bateman lookalikes. At first glance, none of the main characters appear to have any definable features, bar “one of them is Jason Bateman”. And this is both true and untrue (and not just because Charlie Day sounds like an asthmatic 15 year old girl).

The plot:
Three average joes (…this might explain why they are so indefinable, in hindsight) are working in three seperate, more-or-less average jobs. And they have Horrible Bosses (ohhhhhhhh!). One is a sadistic tyrant, another an insatiable nymphomaniac and the last is simply drugged up insane. After conferring over their bosses behaviour, our three average joes (Nick, Dale and Kurt…all one syllable, yet instantly forgettable) decide it is the proper course of action to kill them…

(They didn’t have the crispy m&ms at the counter. This was my main issue with the film. That, and the fat guy who sat in front of me. Curse you, fat guy)

To get something out of the way, I, the guy who writes these words, truly enjoyed this film. It has flaws, glaring flaws it could probably be agreed, but despite that, I was willing to overlook them in favour of an onslaught of laughs. And therein I can essentially sum up this review in one sentence (just in case your toast is burning, or you forgot to pick up your son from cello lessons). Massively forgettable characters, yet, oddly, incredibly quotable one-liners.

The plot isn’t particularly reasonable, it’s true. If this was a film about three guys who got drunk and decided to kill their bosses, or got high, licked their windows and THEN decided to kill their bosses, it could perhaps stick. But, as minimal a qualm as this is, it doesn’t have a sense of realism.

The other main flaw, as mentioned previously, is the issue with the characters. The bosses all put in excellent performances. Spacey is notably twisted, Anniston finally has a role which doesn’t scream “Rachel from Friends“, and Farrell is almost unrecognisable as the coke head sex addict. Unfortunately, the only one of these that is given ample time to develop is Spacey.
As for the guys, while they banter almost incessantly, they do not give particularly memorable performances. The jokes are superbly written, and barrage the audience with barely a seconds respite, yet none of them feel as distinguishable from the other two as, say, the three guys from The Hangover.

Overall:

Despite this performance issue, you feel compelled to keep watching, because the group has an excellent dynamic and are a likeable bunch. You can complain if you like because, as I’ve said, the film has flaws. But odds are, you’ll be one of the few, because the majority are going to love this.

Awful Rating: 6/10

I’d love to bend her over a barrel and show her the fifty states, if you know what I mean” – Kurt Buckman (I think)

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