Three friends conspire to kill each other's bosses. Nick (Jason Bateman) is being side-lined by his selfish boss (Kevin Spacey). Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) loves his job but his boss (played by Colin Farrell) is a fatuous creep who hosts orgies in his office. Dale (Charlie Day) is the target of his boss's constant sexual advances. She may be played by Jennifer Aniston, but Dale only has eyes for his fiancée.
What we thought:
Thanks to one of the most ingenious premises in recent memory, Horrible Bosses is lots and lots of laugh-out-loud fun. Many of us will, unfortunately, be able to relate in some way to the predicament our misfit trio battle with as they hit the proverbial brick wall in their respective careers. Nick is a salesman for a major corporation, Kurt works for a chemical company and Dale is an oral hygienist with a sexually crazed dentist boss. Why would these guys even be friends in the first place? Horrible Bosses doesn’t have time for such details. There is ribald comedy to stage instead.
Horrible Bosses follows the trend towards sexually frank, best-buds-getting-in-trouble type of comedy, most recently seen with Bridesmaids and The Hangover, and is possibly its dirtiest entry to date. There's no holding back when the movie has already committed to having its three docile main characters commit murder. All the coke-snorting, back-stabbing and sexual assault that happens in between is where the real fun lies. And Jennifer Aniston uses the word "finger" in the non-noun sense. Madness.
Much rests on the ability of Bateman, Sudeikis and Day to sell the idea that three men so ordinary, so unremarkable, would even consider murder, let alone go through with it. Day is perhaps best known for his role as Charlie in the irreverent TV sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in which he and some dim-witted friends concoct incredibly stupid plans to make money, get laid, attain fame, etc. In many ways Horrible Bosses plays like an extended version of that show. The humour is wild and seduces you with its silliness, but will you still respect each other in the morning?
And that's where the problem, small as it is, lies with Horrible Bosses – it aims high and plays with the big boys (where else would you see A-list Hollywood stars play second fiddle to TV sitcom actors?) but doesn’t really follow through on its promise. The gags come thick and fast, perhaps too quickly, and after a while they all start to look and sound the same. The writing is quite thin so it's up to the seasoned cast to let it fly with their unique comedic quirks and that singular common language that only close friends share.
And that's before we even get to revel in the madness of seeing a balding Colin Farrell in cheap suits, playing an exaggerated version of the high-flying playboy we always thought he was, only much less attractive. Or Kevin Spacey portraying possibly the most nightmarish type of boss there is: the type that just doesn’t give a shit about anyone else but himself. And if that wasn't star-studded enough for you, Jamie Foxx steals his scenes as the trio's 'murder consultant'. His career sorely needed this little cameo.
But it's Jennifer Aniston who gets the raunchiest moments; the filthy come-ons just rolling off her tongue as if its second nature. This is exactly the type of role she needed to break out of her rom-com rut and even when she's not strutting around in lacy underwear, or seductively eating penis-shaped foods, she is a riot. And like Dale's co-conspirators, we can't quite see what he has to complain about either. That woman is unspeakably HOT.