Horrible Bosses (2011)
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Running time: 98 minutes
Now I bet most of you were expecting a review of Cowboys & Aliens this week since I stated last week that I missed my opportunity to see it and would need to make up for it; but this is not the case! I had a choice between Cowboys & Aliens and Horrible Bosses and I decided to go with Horrible Bosses for two reasons: 1. because my girlfriend was more inclined to see it over Cowboys & Aliens, and 2. I haven’t reviewed many comedies if you don’t include laughably awful films like The Notebook and I felt I should give it another go. Most of the comedies I have reviewed I haven’t really reviewed too favorably (for example, The Hangover Part II), and I had high hopes for this film so I thought this could be my chance to review a comedy positively….
And boy am I going to!
Now Showing this week is Horrible Bosses, directed by Seth Gordon. Horrible Bosses tells the story of three friends named Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) who all hate their bosses: Dave (Kevin Spacey), Julia (Jennifer Aniston) and Bobby (Colin Farrell) respectively. These bosses are all terrible in their own way, Dave being a controlling psychopath, Julia being a nymphomaniac with no boundaries and Bobby being a greasy cocaine addict. Nick, Dale and Kurt all decide that their lives would be easier if their bosses just suddenly ceased living so they embark on the journey to kill their bosses. And good lord is it funny.
This film really made me sit down and figure out what it is in a comedy that is funny, or at least the funniest. And after a good long think I decided that it is chaos. Wait, scratch that, it is uncontrollable chaos that makes a comedy funny. And I think that the greatest way to generate chaos (at least in my opinion) is to give ordinary people a reason to want to commit a crime. I’ve looked back at all the comedies that I’ve watched and the ones that truly stick with me all involve a bumbling fool/s trying to pull off a crime. And I think that the reason crime works so well is because it actually has dire consequences attached to it all going wrong. When the scene is simply “quick, get untangled from each others’ clothes so your fiance doesn’t find you doing something that looks homosexual!”, what is the worst thing that could happen? She dumps him and he goes home and is really depressed for a while, but will eventually get over it. It may be funny, but not really a dire consequence. But if you’ve murdered someone and then have to convince a police officer that they are still alive by badly puppeteer-ing their corpse to look like they’re still alive, what is the worst that can happen? You can go to prison or (in certain countries) be sentenced to death! Those are some dire consequences, and that scene would be very funny.
It is the latter kind of humour that makes up Horrible Bosses, and it works really well. There is the occasional joke involving graphic sexual humour, but most of them are in the context of Jennifer Aniston’s evil character which works for the plot. In fact, the odd situation of a man feeling sexually harassed in the workplace was one of my favourite things about this film!
On a final note, the cast of this film is fantastic. The three lead guys all perform admirably, my only complaints would be that Dale’s high pitch whine can get a bit annoying and Jason Bateman seems to have fallen into Michael Cera’s trap of just having one character in almost everything he’s in; but Jason Bateman’s stock character isn’t annoying beyond Arrested Development like Cera’s is so I can forgive him somewhat. And Bateman’s character actually makes sense for this film so it could be worse. The three bosses, however, are the real stars of the show. Kevin Spacey is wonderful as the psychotic Dave Harken, he just oozes his ego-maniacal bile with such precision. Jennifer Aniston’s sexed-up Julia is just brilliant and Colin Farrell’s coked-up Bobby is so disgustingly politically incorrect it made me jealous! I highly recommend this film to anyone out for a comedy that is actually of a decent caliber, especially after that atrocity known as The Hangover Part II. See you next time!