Horrible Bosses (2011)

Director:  Seth Gordon
Cast:  Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey
Plot:  Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.

Genre:  Comedy / Crime
Awards:  -
Runtime:  98min
Rating:  M18 for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug material.

Just from the title of the movie itself, one can easily guess what this film is all about.  Directed by Seth Gordon, who made The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007), the highly-rated documentary about diehard video game fans competing to break world records on classic arcade games, and the appalling romantic comedy Four Christmases (2008) starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, Horrible Bosses is a comedy that succeeds in tickling our funny bone with its fresh and original premise and some excellent chemistry among the leading cast.

Horrible Bosses starts on a comic high with the introduction of three horrible bosses – Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), and Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell). Dave is a selfish, condescending and unappreciative president of a company who wouldn’t promote extremely hardworking Nick (Jason Bateman).  Julia is a sexy dentist who sexually abuses her assistant Dale (Charlie Day), who becomes totally freaked out.  Lastly, Bobby is a drug and sex addict-weirdo who inherits and wastes his father’s petrochemical company after the latter dies of a heart attack, much to the anger and disappointment of Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), who works for him.

Hence, Nick, Dale and Kurt, who are incidentally drinking buddies, devise a revenge plot to get rid of their bosses so that they could be happy men again.  Not all seems easy, even with enlisting the help of Jamie Foxx’s devious character, whose nickname I can’t repeat here.  What happens thereafter is an adventure they will never forget.  Combining elements of spy movies, jump scares (beware of that cat!) and the best of comedy, Horrible Bosses is in numerous ways an outstanding entertainment picture for adults looking for something light and good to wind down after a hard and tough day’s work (angry boss included).

Some of the jokes fall flat, but most of them hit the target.  The likability of the lead trio, including an excellent performance by Day, makes this film work.  Add to that a strong supporting cast and it is difficult not to enjoy what is on the screen.  Plot twists create some intrigue along the way, though the resolution remains too convenient a set-piece to believe.  Horrible Bosses uses comic techniques that we have seen before in other adult comedies such as the use of explicit dialogue and gross-out actions, and the circumstances that the lead trio find themselves in are contextually quite ordinary; however, the film’s premise remains new, and it is all that matters to get us into the theaters.

GRADE: B (7.5/10 or 3.5 stars)

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