Sunday, July 10, 2011

Horrible Bosses: a formulaic, yet solid comedy

Horrible Bosses features a great ensemble cast: Jason Bateman (he plays Nick), Charlie Day (Dale), and Jason Sudeikis (Kurt) who are friends and are the hardworking, oft-harassed employees of their horrible bosses: Kevin Spacey (Dave Harken), Jennifer Aniston (Dr. Julia Harris), and Colin Farrell (Bobby Pellitt). After becoming increasingly annoyed and tortured by their bosses, they decide the only solution to their problem is to have their bosses killed. With the help of a murder consultant, Motherfucker Jones (played by Jamie Foxx), they begin to (poorly) devise plans to kill each other's bosses.

The movie premise may not be particularly original as they actually reference the two main films that the plot closely resembles (Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train and Danny Devito's Throw Momma From the Train), but the movie actually works as a fun comedy that manages to throw you enough curveballs to keep you from figuring out exactly the fates of each character. What also helps is the darkly comedic, yet relatable tone that is established throughout. This is the most structured, formulaic comedy that you will see and it is a good example of how to do a formulaic comedy right. You have the setup, then comes the premise, and then the action/pratfalls. And you know what? It works just right in this film.

Now you can argue that certain characters are underused or that Jennifer Aniston "isn't sexy or devious enough," but she is batshit crazy enough for you to feel for Charlie Day's character even though this character could only ever exist in a comedy such as this (although maybe I underestimate women these days). Horrible Bosses, though, basically gets everything right and that's really all you could ask for in a summer comedy. It's the rare R-rated comedy in that it has plenty of tasteless and crude jokes and yet the jokes never get in the way of the plot and the movie carries along in a tight, brisk pace.

As far as the acting is concerned, it is refreshing to see Jennifer Aniston in a real movie. You know, a movie that isn't her usual rom-com bullshit. Colin Farrell is just hilarious as the balding cokehead overprivileged boss. Kevin Spacey is in the role that he was always born to play (and has played before): a slimy douchebag of a boss. Meanwhile Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis work quite well together and the chemistry among them remains fresh throughout. Then there's Jamie Foxx. It would've been nice to see him have a bit more fun in the movie because his character is actually pretty awesome.

There are a couple of instances in the movie where you felt they could've done more with this or more with that, but I must say that I personally did not find much to dislike about the movie. Everything is pretty sound and it's a fairly successful comedy. It never goes too far beyond its premise and there's nothing about the film that particularly stands out for me, it's just a solid comedy with a fun cast. What is most refreshing about the film is that the main three characters aren't just bumbling idiots that exist for the sole purpose to say stupid things. These are real characters with relatable problems and you want to see them succeed... in a perverse way.

rating: 7.5/10

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