Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx
Plot: Three friends hatch a plan to assassinate each other’s bosses. However, events soon spiral out of their control.
We were promised a rip-roaring comedy with an unusual premise, boasting some truly massive stars. What we got was another uneven comedy that promised big and fell short. This feeling would feel disheartening, if it wasn’t such a common occurrence.
We are thrown into the lives of our three protagonists, who meet up every night at a bar to bitch about their bosses. Jason Bateman is putting in constant hours to go for a promotion that might not even exist thanks to the arrogant, controlling nature of his boss, Kevin Spacey. Charlie Day is being sexually harassed by his boss, Jennifer Aniston, being blackmailed into having sex with her. Jason Sudeikis is working for his new employer, who is wasting away the business for his cocaine habit, destroying several jobs in the process. One day, they snap and come up with the crazy idea to kill off their bosses, making their life that little bit easier.
The main problem with the premise is that, sure, everyone has joked about killing off their bosses before. But no one would actually entertain the idea of seeing that through. Therefore, when the plot gets set into motion, with little build-up (as this is a comedy, not a drama, damn-it!), no one actually believes what is happening. It feels absurd and you never really connect with the three leads as well as you should. Therefore, most of the jokes end up falling short. I never expect to laugh at every joke in a movie. The best films throw so many jokes at the script that the best ones end up hitting their mark. However, ‘Horrible Bosses’ has the aim of a drunken darts player.
‘Horrible Bosses’ also shoots itself in the foot by advertising itself as a film with big stars. Rather than coming here for the same comedians that pretty much perform predictably, we get drawn to the film for Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell. Surely, the film has some merit, if these big stars are attached. In fairness, they both emerge with integrity attached which is a lot more than I can say for some stars delving into the comedy world. There is just a lack of realism here. Kevin Spacey feels like he is a totally different movie, not doing anything wrong, but seeming so out of place, it still comes across as a below par performance for the actor. At least Jennifer Aniston suits the material, coming up with a character like nothing we’ve seen on her before.
The three leads are lacking also. Maybe it’s my own fault for making this my first Jason Sudeikis movie, but I didn’t get the jokes. A lot of the time it was running with the idea of ‘Jason Sudeikis is fricking awesome!’ and I was thinking ‘who?’ As a result, I never really understood his character. Jason Bateman is meant to be the ‘normal’ guy, we can all relate to, yet as a result he doesn’t really have a character. He comes across as a boring and empty character. Bateman can be funny, but here, he doesn’t get the opportunity to even attempt to be so. Thank god for Charlie Day. Every time I laughed, it was usually down to this man. He improvises the hell out of the scenes and comes up with some genuinely side-splitting lines. I can’t even remember the exact wording of the jokes, but Day sells them. It’s the stutter, the body movement… he throws everything he has at the joke and it works so well. If only, everyone else had this energy.
Final Verdict: A below average comedy. Come if you are a fan of the three leads, yet there is little else here to entertain you.
Good review Luke. It was definitely funny, however, given the talent involved, it could have been downright hilarious and rip-roaring. Somehow though, it just wasn’t.
Personally I hate to see Kevin Spacey be this wasted.