Published On: Mon, Jul 11th, 2011

‘Horrible Bosses’ Movie Review

It looks like Summer 2011 will be remembered as the season of the raunchy adult comedy.  We’ve had some winners (“Bridesmaids,” “Hangover II”) and some non-winners (“Bad Teacher”).  And now we have “Horrible Bosses,” which is a lot from column “A” and a little from column “B.”

The film introduces us to three friends: Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day) and Kurt (Sudeikis).  Each of them work for an insufferable bastard of a boss.  Nick must deal with company president Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), a man who pressures Nick into having a business drink early in the morning and then chastises him in front of others for his “drinking problem.”  Dale’s problem is more personal.  He is a dental assistant whose hot boss Julia (Jennifer Aniston) continues to sexually harass him, both verbally and physically.  Kurt loves his boss (Donald Sutherland) but his sudden death puts his martial arts loving son Bobby (an unrecognizable Colin Farrell) in charge of the company.  How he hates him.  When a conversation with an assumed hit man (Jamie Foxx) steers the trio towards offing each other’s respective employer the laughs fly fast and furious.

A quick nod of thanks here to Judd Apatow.  While doing the television series “Freaks and Geeks” he stressed to his young cast the importance of writing.  The kids took those words to heart, giving us such films as “Superbad,” co-written by Seth Rogen and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” which was written by Jason Segal.  Another actor on that show, John Francis Dailey, is one of the three writers credited with this freshman effort and it’s obvious that he learned from watching a master.  The script is sharply written, with enough humor and twists to keep you interested from beginning to end.  A friend of mine once told me that the sign of a good comedy is when the film just flies by…no slow spots…no dragging of plot.  “Horrible Bosses” fits that definition well.

The cast is a great mix of seasoned funny people and Academy Award winning straight men.  Bateman and Sudeikis (the funny guys) are perfectly cast as the hard working, well meaning employees who want nothing but to succeed.  Day, who was the best thing about last years rom-com “Going the Distance,” is hilarious here.  Oscar winners Spacey and Foxx are equally good.  After “Ray” Foxx seemed to shy away from comedies, which was a shame because early in his career he was one of the most talented comic actors working.  But the secret weapon here is Colin Farrell.  Like Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman in “Tropic Thunder,” he slips into the slimy skin of his character with ease.  Great work is also turned in by the supporting cast, including Julie Bowen and Ron White.  And there’s a great nod to the comic past by way of a cameo that I won’t spoil here. If there is one false note in the cast it’s Aniston.  She’s a naturally gifted comedienne but here her rattling off vulgar comments is more shocking then funny.  I liken it to the scene where Julie Andrews bears her breasts in “S.O.B.”  It just doesn’t ring true.  But like I said, plenty of column “A” to please that comic appetite.

Starring:  Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis
Directed by:  Seth Gordon
Rated:  R
Running time:  1 hour 40 mins
New Line Cinema

Warner Brothers MOVIE MIKES
SCORE: 4  out of 5 stars

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