Director: Seth Gordon
Writers: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Cast: Jason Bateman, P.J. Byrne, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Aniston, Donald Sutherland, Colin Farrell, Ioan Gruffudd, Bob Newhart
Synopsis: Nick hates his boss, mostly because he's expected to work from before sunrise to after sunset and his boss, Mr. Harken, calls him out for being a minute late and blackmails him so he can't quit. Dale hates his boss, Dr. Julia Harris, because she makes unwelcome sexual advances when he's about to get married. But Dale is on that pesky list of child offenders so he can't quit. Kurt actually likes his job and his boss, well, up until his boss dies and the boss's coked-out, psychopathic son takes over. But who would be crazy enough to quit their jobs in such poor economic times? Instead Nick, Dale and Kurt drunkenly and hypothetically discuss how to kill their bosses, and before they know it, they've hired a murder consultant to help them pull off the three deeds.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug material
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Have you ever worked for a boss that was a total douche bag? Someone that used to get on your nerves all the damn time, but you felt there wasn't much you could do about it. Well, that seems to be the dilemma in "Horrible Bosses." Three average guys work for different employers that happen to be a bunch of self centered pricks. You know, I'm very tempted to make a colorful comment in regards to that little scenario. However, I'll refrain myself from making a distasteful comment about some of my previous work experiences. After all, I wouldn't want to self incriminate myself here, but let's just say that I have a general idea of what it's like to work for a boss that's...rather unpleasant to be around if you know what I mean. Anyway, to get to back to the review, I'll briefly be discussing the situations that each character has to endure, before delving into my final analysis of this movie.
As I stated earlier, each of these men work for bosses that seem to relish in the idea of making their lives a living hell. Nick (Jason Bateman) plays a typical office employee suck up, as he firmly believes the only way to get ahead in life is to kiss a lot of proverbial...(ahem)...rumps. Growing up as a child, Nick was raised by his dear sweet grandmother, who died fairly recently. Unlike Nick, his grandmother never took crap from anyone, but she died living most of her life struggling to get by; hence why Nick firmly believes the only way to get by in the real world is by being a proverbial suck up. Unfortunately, his boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), is a bit of an a**hole. Hell, if you looked up the definition of "jerk" in the dictionary, then you'd probably see a picture of Dave Harken's face, as that's how much of a real jerk he is in this movie. For instance, Nick confronts Harken about how he passed him up for a promotion, even though he put in a lot of hours to help out Harken, at his request; while his poor grandma was dying in the hospital. Well, guess what Harken's reaction was hearing about his grandma's death? He laughs at him, and tells him to that he's nothing more than his b****. Ouch!
Then we have our pal, Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), who actually seems rather happy with his line of work, as an accountant for a chemical company. In fact, he's practically like a son to his boss, but he dies of a heart attack. Now, his pot smoking son, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell), is running the company, and he's really is a selfish moronic jerk. Hell, not only does the guy discriminate against handicaps and allegedly pregnant women, but he forces Kurt to choose which one to fire, or else he'll be fired too along with them.
Of course, we finally get to Dale (Charlie Day), who works as a dental assistant for Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). Unlike the other two guys, Dale really doesn't have a lot of options, as he's already registered as a previous sex offender, so job openings aren't exactly available for him. To make matters worse, Dr. Julia constantly makes unwanted sexual advances to him; which I'm sure wouldn't be a big deal considering how beautiful she is, but Dale is engaged and doesn't want to cheat on his fiance. Yet, he can't afford to lose his job either, so what's a poor fellow to do? In fact, what do any of these poor schmucks do to solve their respective problems?
Does Dale file a lawsuit for sexual harassment? Do Kurt and Nick report their a**hole bosses to their Human resources department for their rather unorthodox behaviors? To answer all these questions, then I'd simply have to say no to all of them. No, what they plan to do is much more sinister, and diabolical. Hell, one could say it's down right illegal. In fact, it is illegal, as they suddenly scheme to hire a hitman to kill their bosses, as it'll create plausible deniability. Unfortunately, when the hitman is unable to fulfill his end of the bargain, he offers them some friendly advice by telling them to kill each other's bosses. For those thinking that this is starting to sound like the film, "Throw Mamma From The Train", then you'd be right to assume that, as even the characters in "Horrible Bosses" cite the same thing. Needless to say, they put the plan into action where each plan to kill off the other's boss, while making it seem like an accidental death.
As some readers can probably tell, "Horrible Bosses" tends to borrow elements from previous films like "Office Space", where it goes over some of the struggles we go through working in a satirical way, Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it also borrows elements from "Throw Mamma From The Train", where the protagonist's lives are being constantly tortured by someone close to them, so they each volunteer to kill each other's problems so to speak. Look, I don't mind when movies borrow elements from other films, as there's really so many stories in any medium that one can reasonably fathom. However, I do expect those films that tend to borrow elements from others to at least use those borrowed elements in a rather clever way, or at the very least, use those elements in a new way that audiences wouldn't expect.
Take a film like "Inception" for instance. Granted, this film falls into a different genre of movies, but let's go over it anyway. As much as I would like to say "Inception" is a perfect film, the reality is that the concept of dream exploration has been done way before "Inception" ever premiered. However, what makes "Inception" different than most dream exploration films is that it delves deeper into the psychological aspects of dreams than most ever dared to explore; that in itself makes "Inception" a truly innovative film. What does this have to do with "Horrible Bosses?" Well, I'll get to that now.
Unlike "Inception", "Horrible Bosses" doesn't do anything that's remotely original, or interesting with the borrowed elements it takes from "Office Space" and "Throw Mamma Off The Train." If anything, all it does is rip off them directly, while implementing as many sex jokes as humanly possible. Hell, even elements of Colin Farrell's character is ripped off from Gary Cole's performance in "Office Space", as he played a real moronic jerk too.
However, I will admit that "Horrible Bosses" was rather funny at times too. Sure, it's nowhere near as great as the other two films it borrows a lot from, but it's still worth watching if you're just looking for a decent comedy to keep you entertained. In the end, I'd have to give this movie a two and a half out of four. Not a great comedy, but it's definitely worth renting once it comes out on DVD/Blue Ray.