Seth Gordon famously gave us King of Kong, before blundering spectacularly with the car-crash of a film that was Four Christmases. Now he returns with a brand new comedy in the guise of Horrible Bosses, an adventurous tale of 3 best friends who collectively decide that their respective bosses must die. High concept comedy can be hit and miss so has Gordon refound his mojo?
The premise is simple, 3 guys each have jobs that would be almost idyllic, except for one minor inconvenience…their bosses are assholes. Brought to breaking point by their mistreatment at the hands of a sadistic slave-driver, a sex-crazed lunatic and a coke-fuelled imbecile respectively the three seek out a hit-man to do their dirty-work for them. This hit-man turns murder consultant to the trio who each must find a way to knock off the other’s boss and thus have no traceability back to the crime. Planning the perfect crime never does go according to plan…
The central trio are likeable enough individuals. Jason Bateman plays ever Jason Bateman character ever as the down-trodden desk-jockey whose control freak boss makes his life a living hell. His comedy timing is good, but he’s not stretching himself by any means. Jason Sudiekis is slowly becoming better known over on this side of the pond and he does a fine job with a limited character. His is the least relatable of the bunch as he has no reason not to leave his job save a love of his former employer. Charlie Day brings his brand of loveable loser to the table, and is funny when required to be. The real stars of the movie however are not these 3, but rather the bosses. Kevin Spacey is a delight, a villainous loathsome individual who Spacey absolutely milks for every comedy moment. Colin Farrell owns every scene he is in, delivering on his In Bruges performance with another exceptionally funny character performance. He is sadly under-utilised, as is Jennifer Aniston. Aniston does manage to give a great performance, full of fire and desire making a role that could have just focused on her sexuality into something much more. The role of Jamie Foxx could have been filled by anyone and he does very little to make himself stand out.
Comedy movies can live or die by the script, and the one here is solid but unspectacular. There are some small pacing issues, and with the sequence of events that the film sets in motion the ending feels a little rushed in its attempts to resolve the plot threads. Gordon as a director appears to have let his cast off the leash and this has led to some fine moments of inspirational comedy. The laughs come regularly throughout the film, and the cast genuinely look to be having a ball making the movie. Sadly some of the outtakes in the credits are funnier than parts of the movie itself, but then that can be said of a lot of comedies.
All in all Horrible Bosses is a well made competent comedy that will bring laughs from most. It’s a little in your face at times but that can be forgiven for the sight of Colin Farrell with a comb-over.