Three friends from different backgrounds and working lives plan to end, very literally,
that which is hindering them; their respective bosses, who each possess
demented persona's that they no longer tolerate.
Horrible Bosses is very funny, and the streams of humor that flow into the overarching storyline stemming from the warped values of the bosses and the conflicting values of the three protagonists each under their employ, come together to create comedy genius.
Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman)
informs us as the narrator that he slaves and sacrifices for his company, truly
believing that he will get the 'big' promotion. His boss who is stylistically
introduced with big bold profane text is Dave Harken, played by Kevin Spacy who
is no stranger to A-hole bosses from his role in Swimming With Sharks. Dave strings Nick along before heartlessly
denying him any form of advancement. Cut to narration with Dale (Charlie Day)
and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and their respective workplaces and employers who are
also introduced stylishly, and it quickly becomes clear that all three men face
title such as Horrible Bosses, the employers
in question must have extremely strong persona's, and they do. Psychotic,
perverted and selfish just cracks the surface of these people. Dave is joined
by Dale's sexually deranged and promiscuous boss Julia, Jennifer Aniston, who
is out of control with her potty mouth, and Kurt's spoiled rotten man-child
drug addled Bobby who is a barely recognizable Colin Farrell. They are indeed
different types of jerks, each more extreme and hilarious as the next,
surpassing caricature and becoming varying forms of psychosis in their own
right. It seems each actor had a really fun time in these roles and it shows,
with Spacey in particular as a stand-out example of a truly horrible boss.
Other than their personalities and presumed mental conditions, each persona is
given critical analysis. Their dwellings are explored and each are as diverse
and twisted as the next, although Julia's was only glimpsed at, perhaps because
it was too obscene. Other elements of their horrible lives include their spouses,
habits, inner thoughts and shocking actions which all build their character, or
lack thereof, and each play off the down trodden protagonist that works under
protagonists also play off the bosses well with a mix of discomfort, disgust
and spite. One standout scene has Nick lose it and throw Dave to his death, but
is revealed to be an obvious daydreaming fantasy. Horrible Bosses could have benefited from more of what was
happening internally to these men, and more scenes like this would have created
an easier relation to the audience and their assumed ill nature toward their
possible bosses as the promotions of the movie suggest.
The protagonists' strengths lie outside their interaction with their bosses however. Charlie Day as Dale has unquestionably perfect comedic timing, he works with new material as a man sexually harassed and dominated, but really shines in the trio, playing off the mixed responses from Bateman and Sudeikis hilariously and bringing with him some irresponsible, childish Charlie (from his role in Always Sunny in Philadelphia) mannerisms. Likewise Bateman plays the mostly straight guy keeping his friends in check (Arrested Development comes to mind) and Sudeikis tries to 'bang' everything around him, and executes this shamelessness better than he did with his role in Hallpass. They all bring their best to the table and prove team players with all the little understood hilarious niceties among them, in particular "you're buying dinner" which is said when one upsets the other, Kurt explaining slang and trying to upstage them with his 'brother knowledge' and Bateman as the wise man that seems to reprimand them both.
They bicker and stumble about in a plot like Hitchcock's referenced Strangers on a Train (the one with
Danny De Vito in it according to Dale) but with more laughs as their murder
plans explode in their face. Dale rides in the back of Nick's Prius and inanely
jabbers on, later they lament in the bar together. Their camaraderie is subtle
and works towards explaining their friendship. Another hilarious sticking point
is when they compare bosses, "yours really don't sound that bad Dale" quips
Kurt regarding the hot nymphomaniac dentist. Of course if the genders were reversed
it would be a disturbingly different story.
In Horrible Bosses the three men traverse
from workplace, to bars to their bosses' homes and not before long the movie is
over. This tight pacing really works and does not bog down proceedings. Scenes are
procedural for each character, the set-up and their respective thorn in their side
bosses. The reason, conception, agreement, fruition and outcomes of their plan are
simply shot and well-paced, becoming intentionally scattershot near the end to
portray the side-splitting desperation they find themselves in.
Horrible Bosses has the wish fulfillment element which apparently
puts the viewer in the shoes of someone seriously considering murdering their
boss. It is presumed that a lot of people, have at one stage had dark thoughts
concerning the fates of their employers, but the central theme of Horrible
Bosses, other than the performances is the plan gone awry, a concept that will
never die in comedy, and this along with its execution overshadows any thought
that this movie is anything but hilarious and intelligent and more than simple
great to be at the Melbourne premiere and see the stars in person, even winging
it they played off each others humor well and while introducing the movie made
everyone laugh. It seems, Charlie day in particular just needs to stand around
to be funny.