As nearly every review of Horrible Bosses reminds you, this has been a summer of successful R-rated comedies. Hangover Part II is the highest grossing movie of the year (for now), Bridesmaids has the best word of mouth of the year, and Bad Teacher is exceeding expectations. Is Horrible Bosses a worthy addition to that lineup?
Easily. In my opinion, this is funnier than all 3 of those other movies. I know many will disagree about Bridesmaids, but it might be a gender thing. It’s a male-heavy cast. 3 friends with–you guessed it–horrible bosses come up with a crazy plan to kill them. The guys are all great. I’ve long been a fan of Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis. Charlie Day is new to me, but he holds his own. All three have distinct, likeable and moreover, entertaining personalities.
The bosses are played by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell. Spacey is malicious and minipulative. He seems to LIKE being evil. Yes, he has played similar characters before, but he’s so good at them. Farrell plays mostly against type as a sleazy jerk who thinks he’s much cooler than he is. Aniston is the standout though. She’s a sex-crazed boss, with a dirty mouth and dirtier mind. Most men wouldn’t actually mind a boss like that, and it is brought up in the movie, but they still do a good job of making her advances seem onerous.
A lot of the humor comes from how the guys interact with each other. There’s a lot of overlapping dialogue, where 2 or even all 3 of them are saying something at the same time, most of it hilarious, and you don’t know who to give your attention to. It sounds aggravating, but it’s not. It makes it seem more believable. Don’t know if credit goes to the writer, director, or actors, but someone deserves it.
Jamie Foxx has a supporting role as their “murder consultant.” He’s good, and his character has some good surprises up his sleeve, but he doesn’t steal the show.
A note about the rating–it’s R for language and a bit of violence. Sadly, no nudity (especially for us males), although Aniston comes close. The plot itself is vaguely like Strangers on a Train–each guy kills someone ELSE’s boss, so they have no personal connection. But a few twists liven up the story so it doesn’t feel recycled. In fact, I was genuinely wondering how they’d get out of their mess at the end.
The ending, while not quite as satisfying as I would have liked, still made me almost wish for a sequel. Watching these guys together was so much fun, I wanted to see more of them. But a sequel? What are the odds they would all have horrible bosses for a 2nd time? Actually, in Hollywood, if this movie is a hit (and it deserves to be), the odds are pretty good.