D: Seth Gordon. W: Michael, Markowitz, John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein. DP: David Hennings. Starring: Jason Bateman/Charlie Day/Jason Sudeikis/Jennifer Aniston/Colin Farrell/Kevin Spacey/Donald Sutherland/Lindsay Sloane/Jamie Foxx/Julie Bowen/P.J. Bryne.
Most industries (shhh…especially the entertainment industry) are sprinkled with dominating, weird, unrelenting, unreliable, and painful people, commonly known as horrible bosses. It is safe to say that at some point in everyone’s career they will encounter a horrible boss. And if you haven’t yet or will be one of the few that doesn’t, Horrible Bosses will surely make up for it.
The film centers on three friends, Jason Bateman’s Nick, Charlie Day’s Dale, and Jason Sudeikis’ Kurt and they all hate their bosses. Sadly, that’s all their really is to it. Most previews say it all. The three friends drink and ponder about killing their bosses, travel to a seedy bar, get conned by a guy called Motherfucker Jones (played by a deliciously silly Jamie Foxx), and take matters into their own hands. Even sadder is that the comedy is as thin and obvious as the plot. The three leads generate plenty of funny moments and modern, topical humor, but are unable to sustain a thread of comedy through the whole film. My favorite moment probably belongs to Day, whose It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia success has thankfully lead to film work. And although a lot of his punch comes from his delivery, there is something about the range and tenor of his voice that makes almost anything funny and unique.
Some moments are stolen by the bosses, played by veterans Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell. Farrell, as a coke snorting douchebag is actually the funniest of the three, but gets the smallest amount of screen time. Spacey is fine, but it is Aniston who will probably prove to be the most commercially memorable. According to some reviews, she sheds her Friends image and is funny in a way that is new to her. I disagree, as all she has seemed to shed is clothing and blond hair dye. Next to Bridesmaids, I am still waiting for a recent comedy that allows its major female role to be funny, and not funny because they are hyper-sexualized. It is also important to note, in the Day/Aniston employee/boss relationship that had the genders been reversed no on would be laughing. Well, let’s hope not.
Lastly, Seth Gordon, a much more successful television writer and director, doesn’t really bring anything new to this comedy. In addition, the film relies exclusively on the three male leads previously established comedic personas. Yes there are laughs to be had, but there is also much characterization here either. All we can hope for is that the next project from these young group of writers brings something a lot more memorable and fresh to summer comedy.