Jason Bateman has a boss (played by Kevin Spacey) who keeps him held back at work and overloads him and is, generally, horrible. Charlie Day has a boss (played by Jennifer Aniston, who is looking even more gorgeous nowadays than ever before) who keeps sexually harassing him and is therefore horrible. Jason Sudeikis has quite a nice boss. Oh, then he gets landed with a boss (played by Colin Farrell) who is far too interested in coke and women he can pay for sex than the needs of the business. So Jason Sudeikis also has a boss who is horrible. See how simple the concept is? These men get together and moan and whinge until they stumble upon the idea of killing their bosses. Even better, on the advice of a shady criminal (played by Jamie Foxx), they realise that they will fare better and stay safe if they kill each other’s bosses. And comedy abounds.
Horrible Bosses is a great comedy that works so well because all but the most fortunate of us have, at some time or another, worked for someone that we’ve gone home and had dark, disturbing, vengeful thoughts about. Don’t deny it, you know it’s true. Horrible Bosses lets you vicariously share that thrill of getting that revenge. It’s Strangers In An Office Space, if you will.
The cast are all pretty good though I remain puzzled as to just how Jason Sudeikis actually has a career. He’s okay here but clearly the weakest of the three onscreen. Jason Bateman goes through his usual comedy stylings and they’re great while Charlie Day is often the funniest of the three, mainly due to the way in which nobody thinks that his sexual harassment from Jennifer Aniston is all that big a deal. But the “good guys” make only half the picture. This film is called Horrible Bosses and those bosses better be entertainingly horrible or the movie doesn’t work. Thankfully, they are. Jennifer Aniston is rude, crude and completely out of control as the perverted dentist always making moves on her assistant. Colin Farrell is absolutely hilarious as an overweight and balding coke-fiend. And lording over everyone, like a veritable Lord Of Darkness, is Kevin Spacey. Spacey is clearly having a blast here as he dishes out dirt to people that he clearly doesn’t even take the time to worry about. Gone is the verbal brilliance of his Swimming With Sharks persona, this horrible boss is just a blunt, uncaring slimeball as secretly insecure as he is crazy. In between all of these characters we have Jamie Foxx as the brilliantly monikered “Motherf***er” Jones and Foxx gives a comedic performance on a par with absolutely everyone onscreen, threatening to steal the movie with his few scenes. This is a great ensemble movie.
The script, by Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, is chock full of great lines. Everyone gets at least one quote to make you laugh out loud while the varied chemistry between the characters onscreen adds a layer of humour even when the laughs aren’t coming so thick and fast. This isn’t a comedy centred around one or two big set-pieces but it maintains a consistently high level of mirth from beginning to end.
Director Seth Gordon shows that he can be trusted with great material as he treats it well, keeps things nicely paced and capitalises on the strengths of his cast and the comedic value of the unravelling situation.
If you’ve ever had a horrible boss then you’ll surely love this film. If you want to see Colin Farrell playing fat and ugly then you’ll surely love this film. If you like Bateman, Day and Sudeikis then you’ll surely love this film. If none of those things appeal to you then you might still actually like it. I say give it a try, it’s up there with the better comedies of the year.
DIRECTOR: SETH GORDON
STARS: JASON BATEMAN, CHARLIE DAY, JASON SUDEIKIS, KEVIN SPACEY, JENNIFER ANISTON, COLIN FARRELL, JAMIE FOXX, LINDSAY SLOANE
RUNTIME: 98 MINS APPROX