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Horrible Bosses Should Have Been More Fun, But It’s Above Average

Horrible Bosses
Directed by Seth Gordon
Written by Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, and Jonathan Goldstein
Warner Bros./New Line, 2011

Horrible Bosses is probably the funniest movie in about a year.  It certainly beats this year’s big hits Bridesmaids and The Hangover 2, and clearly blasts the awful Bad Teacher.  But sometimes, even when a movie earns that kind of distinction, it’s still a bit lacking.  Horrible Bosses could have been a lot better, a lot funnier, had the filmmakers thought things through a bit more.

Three friends all have problems with their twisted bosses.  Nick Hendricks (the always-welcome Jason Bateman) believes he’s in line for a promotion at his job, and feels like his boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey, getting close to his Swimming With Sharks performance) is putting him through the ringer to get it.  Only Harken takes the job as his own, and tells Nick that there’s no way he’s going to advance or be able to get another job with another company.

Dale Arbus (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s great Charlie Day) has a problem with sexual harassment from dentist Julia Harris (a smoking hot, and filthy, Jennifer Aniston).  Normally this would be every man’s dream to have a woman at work this gorgeous talking dirty and wanting to have sex with him all the time, but Dale has “always wanted to be a husband,” and is engaged to the sweet Stacy (Lindsay Sloane), and turns down Julia’s advances.  The problem is, Julia is not above blackmail, and Dale has been put on the sex offender registry because of a late-night pee at a children’s playground.

Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) has no problem with his boss Jack Pellit (Donald Sutherland), but then he dies, leaving Pellit’s son Bobby (Colin Farrell) in charge.  Bobby is a tranny-hooker banging, coke snorting fiend who wants to turn everything his father did at the chemical company upside down just to make a profit.

The three friends decide they need to kill their bosses, and stumble upon help from an ex-con named “Motherfucker” Jones (Jamie Foxx).  He tells them they need to gather intel and find weaknesses to make their bosses’ deaths look like accidents.  So for a great deal of time they spy on their bosses at home and break in whenever they get the chance.  The decision is made, a la Strangers on a Train, that each friend will take out the others’ bosses.

By the way, now’s as good a time as any to tell you that Dave Harken is married to Rhonda, who is played by Modern Family’s Julie Bowen.  Bowen, another over-40 actress, is also smoking hot.  Aniston and Bowen need to mud wrestle, and that’s all I’m saying.  And their characters definitely would have participated in such an event.

The movie gets a bit lazy in how the three buddies go about “succeeding” in this whole thing.  I love how their plan crumbles and begins to work in unexpected ways, but then there’s a lazy cheat that sort of takes all the fun out of the farcical nature of the finale.  Given a little more time to cook this script, I think we could have had a manic, hilarious farce on our hands but that’s not what we get.

The movie can be funny in many instances, although it’s got the syndrome where it believes its dirty humor is a lot funnier than it actually is, something that plagued Bad Teacher into a void of laughter.  But there are a lot of entertaining performers here, and they all have their moments, and ultimately the movie is worth a shot.

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