Review: Horrible Bosses

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Posted July 5th, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Three men plot to have their superiors eliminated in the comedy Horrible Bosses. Played with effortless nature by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day, the guys are out of their element as they conspire to find a solution to their misery. Unfortunately the film never really seems to nail down the driving forces behind the characters and its accompanying tone despite the laughs.

There was actually a point in Horrible Bosses where I was resigned to it being purely mediocre – reaching desperately to be a breakout hit but falling vastly short. Then Jamie Foxx’s character “Motherfucker Jones” appeared and injected some direction and a genuine smoothness following what had been a shaky first act. From that point on the film picks up starts to deliver on its potential though never justifying the events completely.

The early issues center on the introduction of the characters and the bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston). It’s pretty clear that the audience is expected to accept the bosses as simply being crazy from the start and sympathize with the three guys and their plights. I never made a complete connection though with those intended emotions. There┬ásimply wasn’t enough time dedicated to building a hatred towards their bosses or the sense of desperation for those working under them that was required to buy the main hook – that these relatively well-balanced men would seriously considering having their bosses offed.

Surprisingly Colin Farrell is underutilized in what could have been the most intriguing character in the film. He gets the least screen time of the bunch. Kevin Spacey is given the most opportunity to show his colors as a truly bad guy (his reaction to a surprise party is absolutely classic). It’s difficult however to care about a man being sexually harassed by Jennifer Aniston and especially to the extent that it would justify her being murdered. Even they make fun of his complaining but somehow just go along with the idea that she should be killed with the other two.

Horrible Bosses breezes through its 100 minutes and deserves credit for the brevity when compared to some of the bloated comedies as of late. Still that quick pace was a detriment in making it difficult to completely buy into the scenarios they got themselves involved in and the decisions that placed them there. Implausibilities were easier to overlook in the second half of the film when the laughs became more consistent.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Horrible Bosses is rated R and opens on Friday July 8th.