Horrible Bosses may not be the first hit comedy of the summer, but it’s definitely the first good one. Not only does the film bring the laughs but it also boasts a well-written script and skilled directing. But it’s the cast, led by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, that puts the nail in the coffin.
Director Seth Gordon made a name for himself with the cult documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters but his first scripted film Four Christmases was a disappointment in every sense of the word. Luckily he bounced back and picked up a great script from writing team Jon Francis Daley (yes, from Freaks and Geeks) and Jonathan Goldstein, based on an idea by Michael Markowitz. Usually when there’s that many hands involved, things can get diluted, leading to a lowest-common-denominator comedy. Although Horrible Bosses may not be the most original or sidesplitting comedy of all time, it has all its pieces in the right spot.
It’s not a film that’s very plot driven but it actually does have quite a few unexpected twists and turns. The kernel of the story is that friends Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) all have horrible bosses. Nick’s boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) is a jerk, basically abusing Nick’s hard work for a promotion. Kurt’s boss is the relatively new Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell) son of his recently deceased boss Jack Pellitt (Donald Sutherland) who doesn’t care about the business at all. Then there’s Dale’s boss Julia (Jennifer Aniston), a nymphomaniac who essentially sexually harasses him at any moment she can.
Playing nicely (and subtly, thank you) into the current economic crisis, they realize it would be easier to off their bosses than look for new work. From there it’s a basic comedy of errors but, with a few nice detours, the film rarely feels forced. Too many comedies feel set up from the beginning with deux ex machinas staring you in the face. However, this has a natural flow and never seems to go off course.
While Bateman, Sudeikis and Day are a great team (especially Day), it’s the bosses who provide the weird humor. Jennifer Aniston, surprisingly enough, is really the breakout star of this. Finally playing against type and not just a love interest in some crappy rom-com, she really plays the sexually charged dentist with gusto. She and Day play off each other unexpectedly well and she creates many of the films best scenes with her cringe worthy performance. Of course, Spacey is also superb as a grade-A jerk but it’s Colin Farrell, and his fantastic comb over, that’s the most under-utilized.
With such a great cast it should be a no brainer that this film is funny, but history teaches us that’s rarely the case. Instead a great cast is just the icing on the cake of a solid script and great directing, both of which Horrible Bosses has. The great cast is just better able to bring out what’s already on the page.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Official Website: http://www.horriblebossesmovie.com/