It’s more rated-R hijinx at theaters with Horrible Bosses. And here’s what the feature gets right:
Jennifer Aniston is finally doing something different (and sexy). Jason Bateman’s face looks as if he was constipated during the entire shoot. Charlie Day is put in a position where he can do what he does best. When you add in the all-star cast of cameos and supporting players, the audience should be able to settle in for a Harlem Globetrotters type performance…
Too bad they get the Washington Generals. (Conclude positives)
This comparison has been used before somewhere in my history of reviews, but this is 93 minutes of a comedian struggling on stage. The failsafe? Start swearing and being all angry during every scene. That practice worked out well for Michael Richards and Tracy Morgan didn’t it?
“Oh my God this sucks” says one of the three leads about halfway through when they realize they aren’t able to pull off the caper in killing each other’s bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell & Jennifer Aniston). And I couldn’t agree more. Sure there’s a few “shots of intelligence” in this over-blown skit. And seeing Jennifer Aniston loosen up (pun intended) was actually one of the highlights. (What does that tell you?)
The assembling of Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Jason Bateman looks great on paper. Sudeikis and Day were dynamite together in last year’s Going the Distance. Wedging Bateman between these two turned out to be a worthless ploy. Bateman looks out of place this time around and you can see it in his face (and during the outtakes in the credits) that he’s not sure why he’s here. Being a fan of Charlie Day’s approach (again, really dug him in Going the Distance), director Seth Gordon flaunts too much of him, riddling him to an annoyance rather than an anticipated punch-line. Everyone here is also mumbling through their lines, too. The only lines they truly nail are ironically when coke is involved. The Vegas wake-up drug comes into play because Colin Farrell’s balding; short-sleeve wearing douche-bag persona is addicted to it. Sadly, this angle, along with his talents, goes to waste due to limited screen time. In fact, all his funny scenes are in the trailer.
Kevin Spacey plays a corporate president, who is drunk with power, and believes it’s a privilege for others to be in his presence. When he’s mercilessly riding Bateman’s character, things look promising; but where the comedy is heading is always predictable. Everything is telegraphed minutes before the gag happens throughout this fast-moving, unbalanced misfire. This can be tolerated if the dialogue is timed correctly. Timing blunders become evident when the hit man angle is explored. Ioan Gruffudd, while a solid actor is not a cameo draw. His sequence with the boys comes across unrehearsed and shallow. The main cameo is completely wasted unless you put stock into giving someone a funny name and then repeating it over-and-over again.
And that’s the source of the problem with this piece; jokes are too articulate (like my reviews at times) and/or dragged out way too long. There’s a nice and relatable concept with taking out your boss, yet the writers fail to capture the over-the-top fun in doing so. Acting on these realistic notions worked in flicks like Hall Pass and Old School. HB is trying to stay within the novice approach the unskilled characters would naturally have and for continuity reasons, it makes sense. I guess what it boils down to is that this college-dorm room planning tale just came across as lame.
Overall, Horrible Bosses missed an opportunity to advance itself. The staff behind this annoying, tedious product was under-qualified to handle the exceptional talent at their disposal. To be fair though, some of the employees missed the mark on their characters, too. My father always used to tell me (still does actually ha-ha) “work first, play later.” With regards to this messy execution, these guys clearly switched the first and third words around.
RATING: 1.5 out of 5