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Getting Even with "Horrible Bosses"
Hate your boss? Ever wanted to grab ‘em by the tie, drag through the office and throw them out the 10th floor window? Well, for three best friends, their lives are being crushed by their vile and evil superiors and consider taking such measures. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day suffer at the hands of three of the most despicable in “Horrible Bosses.” The new comedy by director Seth Gordan and written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein allow audiences to vent their own workplace frustration.
Nick Hendricks (Bateman) works tirelessly at a financial company to appease his psychotic boss Dave Harken Kevin Spacey). Dale Arbus (Day) is a dental hygienist who constantly has to put up with the sexual advances of his manipulative boss Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) but wants to remain faithful to his fiancee Stacey (Lindsay Sloane). Kurt Buckman (Sudeikis) loves working as an accountant to a chemical company until his father-figure boss Jack Pellitt (Donald Sutherland) passes away and the company is turned over to his cocaine addicted slime ball of a son Bobby (Colin Farrell sporting a hideous comb-over). With no option to quit, the only way their professional lives could return to happiness is to off their bosses.
While these three friends couldn’t even hurt a fly, their best option is to hire a hit man. Traveling to one of the most dangerous bars in the city, they come across Dean “Mother Fu**er” Jones (Jamie Foxx) who offers them help. Scrounging for what little money they have to pay him, all Jones can offer is advice on how the trio can kill their bosses on their own. Suggesting they each kill off another one’s bosses to escape any connection, the film goes meta in referencing Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” a film itself referenced by “Throw Mama from the Train” (starring Day’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” co-star Danny Devito). What follows is three inept guys getting deeper and deeper into trouble with trying to pull off such a complicating task.
Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis offer great chemistry in these relatable working-class roles. Bateman himself has slowly been climbing the comedic ladder in films since his cult-hit TV show “Arrested Development” was canceled in 2006. Sudeikis (“Saturday Night Live”) and Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) are slowly transitioning into films and audience attention. The real stars are the bosses. Spacey is cold and sinister but to comedic affect. Farrell is your traditional alpha-male douche bag who doesn’t know how to run a company. Aniston breaks away from her typical rom-com “will she ever find love?” roles and puts out the raunchiest of her career. But the real breakout star in the film is Charlie Day as Dale, who parleys his Charlie character from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” to a more straight character, albeit wacky at times. During one scene where the trio infiltrate Bobby Pellitt’s apartment on a reconnaissance mission and accidentally drops a box full of cocaine, Dale unknowingly inhales some of it and instantly goes into slapstick mode.
“Horrible Bosses” isn’t the perfect comedy but relies in relatable humor in terms of employee frustration established in the now cult-classic “Office Space” but a little more on the black comedy side. Comparisons can be made to the first "Hangover" film, but not as ambitious. Yet, there are consistent laughs throughout that leaves viewers satisfied. Considering the film’s three protagonists aren’t established comedy stars, this film definitely showcases their comedic talents. They’re likable “straight men” while outperformed by the outrageous Spacey, Aniston, and Farrell.