Horrible Bosses (15)
“Ever wish your boss were dead?” offers the tagline for this intermittently funny comedy.
Well, no, not enough to murder someone. We’ve all worked with terminally mediocre, untalented shysters who are liars to boot. But have they been worth the effort of killing them? Nah, can’t be bothered.
It’s a different scenario for the three put-upon heroes of Horrible Bosses. Nick (Jason Bateman) hates his monstrous, gung-ho boss. Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) loathes his new manager – the coked-out son of the old man who’s recently died. And Dale (Charlie Day) is at the mercy of his employer, a nymphomaniac babe who just won’t take no for an answer.
And, lo, they decide the only way out of their joint predicament is to bump them all off. Trouble is, it ain’t that easy – particularly when they inadvertently hire a ‘hitman’ whose actual occupation is to sexually abuse clients by peeing on them…
Another Hollywood Hangover derivative with three pals in a fix, Horrible Bosses emerges as a winner due to its star-packed cast of guests. Alongside Ioan Gruffud’s turn as the wetwork man – the assassin who isn’t – are Bob Newhart, Jamie Foxx, Donald Sutherland and the triumvirate of Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston.
Spacey spits bile as the oily CEO who casually practises blackmail to entrap his young executive. Farrell is barely recognisable as the drugged-up loser who plays God with his staff and wants his subordinate to fire a fat man – because he’s fat.
And Aniston revels in playing the potty-mouthed predatory dentist, shedding her goody-goody image (and some, if not all, of her clothes) in the process.
The twist in this somewhat predictable tale is that the three pals decide to kill off each others’ bosses. Naturally the best-laid plans go awry and nothing works out as expected. In between these cack-handed attempts at murder are a succession of run-ins with the three beastly chiefs in which each star revs up to be the biggest louse.
Spacey has always immersed himself in spiky dialogue so playing the shark-like company head honcho is a cinch. Farrell has little to work with but enjoys his disguise – a bald wig and comb-over. Aniston pouts and glares a lot, flashes her midriff and rolls profanity around her lips with seductive aplomb.
Horrible Bosses is an okay comedy. It’s funny, just not funny enough. And it struggles in the wake of The Hangover (let’s forget the sequel) which proved how a situation comedy with three out-of-depth mates can re-invent the concept of the buddy movie.