Horrible Bosses is one of those ever-increasing number of films that works best simply as the pitch. One of the clearest proofs of this is that the funniest moments in the film are those that are given the least attention. The small asides (largely delivered by Bateman) that could easily go unnoticed, are the moments stuck in by brighter minds, who know the overall arc doesn’t carry, and likely aren’t responsible for much of the filler.
It’s one of those stories that causes much laughter when you’re out drinking, throwing out ideas, but when you’re back at work on Monday, you realize you’ve got to try to make it funny for at least 90 minutes, and that ain’t gonna happen.
It’s a spin on the old switcheroo murder game, wherein (usually) I’ll kill your wife, if you kill mine, thus throwing off motives, and allowing for alibis, etc. This time around, three friends find that they all hate their bosses, and worse, can’t really leave their jobs. One is being held back by an ass who is never going to promote him, and can destroy his chances at finding another position in the same field. Another is a dental assistant working for a psychotic dentist, but he’s a registered sex offender (he peed in public unaware that he was on the grounds of a school), and he was lucky to get anyone to hire him. The last has worked for a small family company so long that he is practically a son, but when the patriarch dies suddenly, it’s the real son who takes over, and he’s a drug-abusing loser who is going to destroy the company.
After sufficient time setting the stage, largely by way of ludicrous antics, the trio decides they have to do something, and there really isn’t anything they can do other than play round robin boss death match. Things progress more or less as expected, with little in the way of higher humor, imagination, or even a relatively decent commitment to the spin. It’s average in, average out, though, as I said, there are a few moments that provide laughs, but if you blink, you’ll miss them. The overt efforts are entertaining-ish, in the kill a night with a non-horrible movie sort of way, but they’re funnier when you explain them the next day than they actually are.
Bateman is the star, and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders here, as is usually the case when he’s involved in such efforts, and most everyone else phones it in, content with a few days of moderate work and a paycheck. Fair enough actually, because a great deal of effort wouldn’t amount to much difference.
On the other hand, if nothing else is calling your name, this one is at least serviceable in its ability to get a few laughs somewhere. It hearkens back to certain films of days gone by, when movies would come out with some frequency that hardly covered their “excuse,” and the plot only served as the jumping off point to filming stars audiences like to watch as they screwed around for a while. It may not make for any part of an interesting, or especially humorous film, but who doesn’t want to see Jennifer Aniston acting like a sex-crazed nutjob? And, if there’s anything we can all get behind, it’s watching a pack of schlubs as they set out to murder their bosses.
The standard DVD offers virtually nothing in the way of bonuses, and the Blu-Ray doesn’t exactly raise the bar a great deal. What the Blu-Ray does do rather wonderfully though, is offer special features that provide the best sort of extra value. What I mean by that is that they are brilliantly only loosely connected to the film at all.
3 Featurettes have the stars talking about their least favorite jobs, horrible bosses, and how much fun it is to play a mean character, all of which might just as well have been connected to any other film, or no film at all. The result as that these are pretty interesting, even if they are just as short as you expect them to be. A small bit of fluff to say that there are bonus features added on to a film that makes it tricky to come up with what else you could relevantly add.
Management candidate Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) has been logging 12-hour days and eating everything his twisted supervisor Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) dishes out, toward the promise of a well-earned promotion. But now he knows that’s never going to happen. Meanwhile, dental assistant Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) has been struggling to maintain his self-respect against the relentless X-rated advances of Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. (Jennifer Aniston), when she suddenly turns up the heat. And accountant Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) has just learned that his company’s corrupt new owner, Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell), is not only bent on ruining his career but plans to funnel toxic waste into an unsuspecting population.
What can you do when your boss is a psycho, a man-eater or a total tool? Quitting is not an option. These monsters must be stopped. So, on the strength of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con whose street cred is priced on a sliding scale (Jamie Foxx), the guys devise a convoluted but foolproof plan to rid the world of their respective employers… permanently.
But even the best-laid plans are only as good as the brains behind them.
BLU-RAY / DVD ELEMENTS
· My Least Favorite Career – Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Julie Bowen and director Seth Gordon recall jobs and difficult bosses from their past in this humorous “Before They Were Famous” piece.
· Surviving a Horrible Boss – Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day discuss what makes a “Horrible Boss,” how to deal with their unpredictable and outrageous behavior, as well as elaborate on their on-set camaraderie as they play out the fantasies of oppressed workers everywhere.
· Being Mean Is So Much Fun – Delve into the mind of the Horrible Bosses – Colin Farrell (Pellit), Jennifer Aniston (Dr. Julia), and Kevin Spacey (Harken) reflect on what it was like to get mean, down and dirty.
· Additional Scenes
· Making of the “Horrible Bosses” soundtrack
The “Horrible Bosses” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
· Additional Scenes
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- Horrible Bosses [Blu-Ray] (cinemablend.com)
For Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day), the only thing that would make the daily grind more tolerable would be to grind their intolerable bosses into dust. Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few too many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con, the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers...permanently. There’s only one problem: even the best-laid plans are only as foolproof as the brains behind them.