Review by Jack Foley
ISN’T it great when a comedy commits to going all the way with a premise? Seth Gordon’s Horrible Bosses does just that and strikes another memorably hilarious blow for the power of the R-rated, or adult comedy, in the wake of [the original] Hangover and the more recent Bridesmaids.
Working off everyone’s recollection of a horrid boss, Gordon’s film then proceeds to up the ante considerably, placing three inept ‘heroes’ at the centre of a Hitchcockian plot to do away with the managers who are making their lives hell.
But while cleverly referencing Strangers On A Train in the same breath as Throw Momma From The Train during one of several movie in-joke observations, the film then proceeds to take its characters down a dark, increasingly outrageous path that’s more about rowdy, OTT hysterics than anything slick or well thought through.
And therein lies the joy… Horrible Bosses exists to be outrageous in a post-Hangover state of play, gleefully mixing the rude with the crude (and sometimes plain vulgar) as well as some sophisticated and surprising comedy turns.
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day are the three long-suffering best friends at the centre of this tale. For Bateman, there’s Kevin Spacey’s manipulative CEO to contend with (a sly mix of Keyser Soze and Swimming With Sharks), while for Sudeikis there’s the dishevelled Colin Farrell (a pot bellied hick with a comb over who is desperate to emerge from his late daddy’s shadow).
Day, meanwhile, has to contend with a sexy, potty mouthed dentist (Jennifer Aniston) who keeps making inappropriate sexual advances on him even though he’s happily engaged.
How these three everyman guys go about offing their bosses gives rise to some hilarious sequences, especially in light of their murder consultation from shady bar-dweller Motherf**ker Jones (Jamie Foxx).
Gordon, whose best work includes award-winning documentary The King of Kong (and whose worst rates as Four Christmases) here strikes a much, much better balance between the improv ridden dialogue and the slapstick situations.
He also benefits from an A-list cast on the top of their game. Bateman, Sudeikis and Day make an excellent central trio, whose camaraderie shines and whose likeability keeps things firmly on track, while it’s great to see Spacey, Aniston and Farrell letting down their hair and going for broke in the dastardly stakes.
Foxx, too, is great in a worthwhile cameo as the guys’ murder consultant.
The gags fly thick and fast, too, so that even if some don’t work (or appear insensitive or borderline racist and sexist), there’s always another waiting in the wings to restore the feel-good factor.
A couple of neat surprises also ensures that viewers must stay on their toes as Gordon seeks to take the story into directions that might not always be expected.
Horrible Bosses is therefore a supremely well-managed laughter-fest that deserves to find a large appreciative audience.
Running time: 100mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: November 21, 2011
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Triple Play) (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Jennifer Aniston interview
- Kevin Spacey interview
- Seth Gordon interview
- Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day interview
- Horrible Bosses Character Poster Gallery