BOTTOM LINE: An incoherent plot and uninspired comedic situations squash any life the film’s A-list cast might have brought to the project.
SNL continues its takeover of Hollywood in Warner Bros.’ latest comedy, Horrible Bosses. Although director Seth Gordon aims for a raunchy, crude sense of humour similar to that of Bridesmaids and Hangover, Horrible Bosses‘s main selling point is its stellar cast, which includes SNL alumni Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis, as well as Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston. Unfortunately, the cast is the only element of the film worth boasting about, as the jokes are stale and the script slides into desperation multiple times. Worst of all, the film commits the number one crime for mainstream movies: it packs all its best moments into the trailer, leaving little to savour in the theatre.
Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) all have the same problem: they love their jobs but have the worst bosses in the world. Nick’s boss, Dave (Kevin Spacey), is a psychotic hard-ass who doesn’t take him seriously enough to grant him the promotion he deserves. Kurt’s boss, Jack (Donald Sutherland), recently died, leaving ownership of his chemical company to his coke-snorting, asshole son, Bobby (Colin Farrell). And Dale’s boss, Julia (Jennifer Aniston), is a sex-crazed maneater who threatens to ruin his happy engagement if he won’t sleep with her.
Thus, the three friends come up with the perfect solution: kill their bosses. With the help of ex-con Dean “Motherfucker” Jones (Jamie Foxx), Nick, Kurt, and Dale set out to stage three perfect murders. Their plans go awry, naturally, and they end up entangled in a murder plot they didn’t even have anything to do with.
The film adequately blends black comedy and action. That is, it doesn’t fail miserably like The Green Hornet, but it also doesn’t quite get all the parts to gel together. With such a high-profile cast, it’s hard to go wrong on the acting side, even with one-dimensional caricatures of characters and an inconsistent script. Most of the film’s lamer jokes are helped along by great comedic timing and delivery, and simply seeing these actors do their thing on screen (and in such unexpected roles) is a joy in and of itself.
On the flip side, any film boasting so many A-list stars automatically sets up insanely high expectations for itself, and unfortunately Horrible Bosses doesn’t quite meet those expectations. In fact, it downright stomps on them. The plot is predictable, and the film relies too heavily on cheap, unoriginal surprises to entertain its audience. Most comedies need to be grounded in some sort of reality to strike a chord, and this one fails to do that. Several key plot points are hard to believe. The entire Dale/Julia situation is a little bit of a stretch — are the males this film is catering to really going to sympathise with a guy who hates his hot, nymphomaniac boss? And honestly, a GPS system that can shut down engines and record conversations is kind of an amateur solution for a movie with so much potential.
Everyone knows good actors need to lower their artistic standards and dabble in some mainstream fare every once in a while, but Horrible Bosses seems a bit risky for a safe, dependable project. While entertaining overall, the film doesn’t have the charisma or relevance of Bridesmaids or Hangover, and will most likely drop off at the box office after a few weeks.