Saturday, July 16, 2011

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

(Left to Right): Bateman, Day and Sudeikis
Horrible Bosses (2011)
Directed By: Seth Gordon
Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx

The same summer that gave us the uninspired comedy sequel The Hangover 2 has also given filmgoers two fresh, hilarious hits -- Bridesmaids and, now, Horrible Bosses.

We've all had our fair share of unlikeable bosses -- but did we dislike them enough to actually want to conspire to kill them? (If the answer is yes, maybe keep that bit to yourself). Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis play three average joes whose only real excitement in their lives is the stress level they reach at work -- all three have nightmare bosses that make the workplace a living hell.

Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) conspire to do away with each of their bosses during a drunken visit to the pub one night. Why do their bosses inspire such hatred in the seemingly harmless pals? Nick's boss, David Harken (Spacey), enjoys tormenting and publicly humiliating him, going so far as to withhold a job promotion from Nick, simply because he can. Kurt, on the other hand, is devastated when Bobby Pellitt (an unrecognizable Farrell), the son of Kurt's beloved (and recently deceased) boss, takes over for his old man and proceeds to make everyone miserable in the process. And, finally, there's Dale, who elicits the least amount of sympathy from his two pals because his boss is the beautiful Dr. Julia Harris (Aniston) -- a dentist who has taken a particular liking to Dale and sexually harasses him on a daily basis. The three friends hire Dean "Motherfucker" Jones (Foxx) as a "murder guru" of sorts, in an attempt to come up with a plan that will satisfy all three of them and free them from those evil overlords.

Audiences can take comfort in knowing that these three buffoons could never actually successfully pull off a triple homicide, allowing you to just sit back and enjoy the ride. It's that rare dark comedy that has a few surprising tricks up its sleeve to keep you guessing about the outcome until the very end.

Bateman and Sudeikis both play characters similar to those they've played numerous times before, but their comedic timing is impeccable, especially the droll and sarcastic Bateman -- a master of understated comedy. As for this Day fellow, I've never seen him in anything but his small stature and impish charm actually reveal a large talent for hilarious scene-stealing. He usually overshadows his other two co-stars with his manic energy and perfect comedic timing. 

Farrell as Bobby Pellitt
Spacey excels at playing evil, conniving men -- and his character, David, is the most unlikeable of the three bosses because he's probably the closest to how some top corporate men can be in real life. You hate the guy and that's all thanks to Spacey's ability to inspire loathing.

Aniston is probably the most shocking, playing against type. She's never been raunchier in her entire career and, for the first time, has eliminated any passing thoughts of her Rachel Green character from Friends. She's such a funny comedienne, and it's great to finally see her cut loose.

The standout, though, is Farrell. With his receding hairline (complete with wispy comb-over) and added paunch, he a coarse, vulgar and rude cocaine addict who gets off on ruling the roost. Not only does he get in some great one-liners, but just watching him roll around the office in his chair will make audiences laugh.

In the middle of yet another summer movie season full of blockbuster sequels and comic book adaptations, Horrible Bosses stands out as one of Hollywood's better offerings -- a genuinely funny film with an all-star cast that each bring something different to the table. Here's hoping they don't ruin this film by giving it countless sequels.