By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
However the economy’s doing, there are always some bad apple bosses out there. We’ve all had ‘em, some bad enough that homicidal daydreams don’t seem like much of a stretch. In an economy where Lehman Brothers associates are reduced to giving handjobs in a bathroom (according to the movie), bosses’ powers of douchebaggery might even inspire some employees to go a little further…
Photo By: Ambro
It turns out those expense-account manicures came in “handy” after all
Horrible Bosses follows three friends who conspire to murder each other’s bosses a la Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, or according to Charlie Day, that train movie with Danny DeVito.
We’ve seen the formula- lump together a straight man (Jason Bateman), and inveterate womanizer (Jason Sudeikis), and a wildcard (Charlie Day) and put them in an outrageous, darkly comic situation.
A formula that has had a bit of success before
Part of what makes Horrible Bosses one of the best of its ilk is the trio of villainous bosses. Colin Farrell steps way outside of type as a crazed, balding cokehead with a predilection towards likely shemale Asian hookers. Jennifer Aniston strays even further from her good-girl image as an insatiable nymphomaniac with a mean streak. However, Kevin Spacey gets most of the scene-chewing and the kudos as an unredeemable bastard.
The good, not great script has plenty of funny one-liners and the cast has obvious good chemistry and play well off each other. Jamie Foxx’s cameo as Muthafucka Jones, especially when he gets into the story behind his name, was also excellent. Still, what really makes the film for me was Day embracing his Always Sunny in Philadelphia persona and going full Charlie. He does manic naïve better than anybody.
Also Serpico. Better luck next time, Al Pacino.
The problem with giving Spacey and Aniston’s legs so much screen-time is that we get less of the other characters, especially Farrell’s. Anybody who saw last year’s The Way Back knows he can play a borderline psychopath for laughs, but it doesn’t seem like his character gets enough time in this one to find his stride.
Who couldn’t use a little more of this in their life?
There was a point where I thought the movie was heading down a truly dark path. After a particularly dickish move Bateman grabs Spacey by the collar and throws him through a window to the cheers of his coworkers. This is just a daydream of course, and the rest of the film never even gets close to it, but it would have been nice to at least see a couple more episodes showing Farrell and Aniston get their due.
Horrible Bosses end up being just a bit too nice and conventional for that, especially the convenient, gift-wrapped ending. That’s about all that’s holding the film back from pure comedy gold, though, and it certainly gets the job done in the most important department- getting laughs.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Kevin Spacey exudes pure evil
Take a Drink: every time Jason Sudeikis charms a woman out of his league
Drink a Shot: every time Charlie goes Full Charlie
There are outtakes during the credits that are worth sticking around for.