Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

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More like horrible employees, am I right?

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Seth Gordon, 2011

Company man Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) has been kissing boots for years in the hopes of getting a promotion. Now the big moment is almost upon him, but his, her, horrible boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) is standing in the way of that happening. Meanwhile, his friend, devoted husband Dale Arbus (Charlie Day), is being constantly sexually harassed at work by his boss, Dr. Julia Harris. The third member of their trio, womaniser Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis), is happy in his job until his boss dies unexpectedly and is replaced by his cocaine snorting asshole of a son, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell). In the depths of their misery, the three men decide to murder their bosses; then, with the help of criminal Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx), they come up with a plan to murder each others’ bosses instead. It’s not long before the three idiots realise that crime really isn’t their game, but are they in too far to get out?

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The bosses aren’t the only people in this movie who are terrible. Basically everyone is completely awful, with the exception of poor Dale, who is raped, abused, harassed, and routinely mocked for trying to be a decent guy. Let me be clear: rape jokes are never, ever funny, no matter who they’re aimed at, especially not to the extent they’re used in this film. And can the sexually aggressive maneating bitch steretoype die now please? Now, I understand that humour is subjective, but I think I laughed twice in this entire so-called comedy, and one of those times was during the outtakes in the credits. Those moments show what worked about this movie: the central trio, who are all talented comedians in their own rights, have good chemistry together. Their constant ad-libbed bickering underscores everything they do, and it’s the only glue that keeps the very loose plot together. The actual, theoretical plot – guys try to murder their bosses – only happens for a very brief period of time in this poorly constructed film.

Of the bosses, only Kevin Spacey gets much to do. Colin Farrell is sleazy and gross for approximately five minutes of screen time, and Jennifer Aniston is a sexual predator and terrible human being for approximately way too much screen time (there’s a scene where she’s almost naked and in conversation with Dale that I actually couldn’t watch most of). Spacey’s Harken is a particularly awful guy, selfish and as misogynistic as the film that created him, but he’s the kind of villain you love to hate, and Spacey chews the scenery with solid comedic timing as he relishes the opportunity to be funny for a change. Jamie Foxx’s Motherfucker Jones is subversively funny, and the scenes with him are among the best in this awful film. The climax is a terribly anticlimactic, given the zaniness that precedes it. The musical choices are all weirdly on the nose, too, like a bad 90s TV show trying to be clever. This sleeper hit should have stayed asleep.

Horrible Bosses on IMDb

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