Movie review – Taking down the man

2011-07-22 14:28

Film: Horrible Bosses (Nu Metro)
Director: Seth Gordon
Featuring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey
Rating: 6/10

Most of the cast and crew of this comedy made it on TV. ­Director Seth Gordon’s credits include gigs with The ­Office and Parks and Recreation, while the writing team has worked on Becker, The New Adventures of Old Christine and The PJs. The film has funny moments, but the laughs don’t quite make their way to uncontrollable snorts
and guffaws.

But the sextet of stars make up quite a constellation. The horrible bosses of the title are Kevin Spacey as the psycho boss, ­Jennifer Aniston as the sexual predator boss and Colin Farrell as the idiot boss. Respectively, their hapless employees are Jason ­Bateman as Nick, who works for a promotion he is never going to get; Charlie Day is Dale, the object of his boss’s sexual obsession; and ­Jason Sudeikis is Kurt, who has to watch as his boss sinks the ­company for his next drug fix.

Over a beer one night, the ­employees ponder the merits of popping off their nasty trio of bosses. After another couple of days of humiliation at work, their thoughts become actions. With the help of a very dubious “murder consultant”, played with a fake snarl by Jamie Foxx, they decide on a variation of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Each employee kills a boss that isn’t his own.

Anything that can go wrong does go wrong during their would-be murderous enterprise. But the scriptwriters are clever enough to extract each of the trio without too many fatally immoral scrapes.

Bateman is by far the funniest of the trio. He plays it straight and gets the laughs. He is leagues ahead of his “partners in crime”. I have yet to forgive Sudeikis for Hall Pass, but even though he keeps a few of his dirty habits, he is more tolerable. As for Charlie Day, he is irritating throughout the film.

It’s interesting that he is the character who is sexually harassed. The male writers have completely emasculated him. His ambition, he tells us in the opening scenes, is to be a husband. That’s it. He’s a ­gender-bending throwback to the 1950s, while his oversexed boss is the skirt-wearing equivalent of a dirty old man.

Horrible Bosses is yet another one of those films that could have been so much better with a little more imagination. Instead, the film plays it safe by going for tried and tested (and somewhat tired) gags. And yes, there is the inescapable toilet humour. What would an American comedy be without it?

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