Directed by Seth Gordon
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug material.
1 hr. 40 min.
Have you ever had a boss who just made your insides do a slow burn? If so, you might identify with this film more than you care to admit. Three friends, each with a boss whose description can’t be reprinted in this column. Painful to live through, yes, but it turns out there’s some humor to it all, at least in this movie.
While Horrible Bosses doesn’t quite meet the gold standard of crude comedy (that would be Hangover), it does fine on its own and might, with the rise of a new generation, become a comedy cult classic (like Office Space) among those who have to spend inordinate amounts of time at work taking crap from sociopath managers.
Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), Charlie Day (Dale Arbus) and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) are good friends with a similar problem. They each have a bad boss. I mean really bad, as in make you cringe and curl your fingers kind of bad.
One night over drinks in a bar, they start toying around with talk of boss murder. Just playfully at first, then, like the booze they’re consuming, the idea starts to kick in. The question is, how? These are three hard-working guys with clean hands — well, except for Arbus, who was mistakenly convicted as a sex offender for pissing at a playground late one night. After a few more drinks, they settle on hiring a contract killer.
After a very funny misfire that features a bad Internet search and urine, they stumble onto a guy in a bar in a bad part of L.A. who calls himself Dean “MF” Jones (Jamie Foxx).
MF, covered with tattoos and looking dangerous, says he’ll be their murder “consultant” — for a fee, of course. He proceeds to give them little pointers on how to get started and sends them on their merry way (minus a large chunk of cash) toward murder and mayhem. Mostly the latter.
Director Seth Gordon, a veteran of TV comedies such as Modern Family, The Office and Parks and Recreation, brings that good sense of comic timing to this film. Keep the jokes coming, clearly define the characters, don’t let things wander too far off track — a real asset when it comes to comedy. Most important, he keeps the story moving and doesn’t beat any dead horses.
While Bateman, Day and Sudeikis are a great comic team, there are also great performances from Foxx, a straw-swizzling gangsta type who plays MF with a twinkle in his eye, Kevin Spacey, who milks the laughs when he ridicules Hendricks’ use of the term “gam gam,” and Jennifer Aniston as a very naughty (and booty-licious) dentist.
And then there’s Colin Farrell, who gets my vote for worst hairpiece of all time. Watch closely for a tiny smile as he talks straight-faced about firing fat people.
But the straw that stirs the drink is Day, the very funny misfit among a group of barroom misfits from the TV series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. You might even call this film “Sunny Philadelphia Moves to Sunny Los Angeles.” It centers around a bar, it features crude humor and it brings out the comic genius of Day, whose maniacal rants alone are worth the price of a ticket.
Every summer has to have a favorite R-rated, bad-language-spewing, crude humor, throw-it-in-your-face type comedy. This summer, it should be Horrible Bosses. If you enjoy laughing at good people driven to madness, this might make your day, and maybe give you a few good ideas about . . . hmm. Nah. That would be illegal now, wouldn’t it?