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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Written by: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Directed by Seth Gordon
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell
If it’s satisfying, edgy summer comedy you’re after look no further! Horrible Bosses is naughty enough to ensure the odd shocked snigger, but funny enough to ensure you don’t spend too long shifting uncomfortably in your seat. The plot is simple, three best friends agree to murder each others horrible bosses. Riffing on Strangers on a Train and Throw Momma From the Train (which was itself riffing on Strangers, how very post-post), Horrible Bosses combines the squirmy suspense of the former and the darkly comic nasty streak of the latter to produce a very enjoyable and funny comedy. Nick (Bateman) is working for a faceless corporation and taking all kinds of rubbish from his boss Dave (Kevin Spacey) with a view to an impending promotion. Dale is being sexually harassed by his boss Julia (Jennifer Aniston) and getting little sympathy from his friends and Kurt’s lovely boss just died leaving his cokehead idiot son (Colin Farrell) in charge. The guys are so miserable that they somehow come to the conclusion that their only solution is to “whack” their bosses. The trick to pulling off this potentially tired little plot is to ensure that the cast of performers are on the ball at all times. Playing it safe with some of TV’s strongest comedy actors Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Jason Sudeikis (SNL) and Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), the three leads were clearly cast for skill and not box office draw. This ploy works, bigtime! The three actors hit every comic beat and squeeze every ounce of juice out of each joke. As loveable as these guys are, the bosses are equally despicable. Spacey, Aniston and Farrell are clearly having a blast here with their rather vaudeville characters. The chemistry and fun created by the cast reminds me of early Farrelly Brothers movies, where so much of the energy was created by actors just having a blast at being ridiculous. The villains are all breaking out of their usual moulds and playing to their underused comic abilities. It may not be the most original story but it is delicately plotted so that the many twists and turns are given the right amount of comic punch. Sometimes simple is best and watching these hapless guys indulging this absurd fantasy is about as simple as comedy gets. There’s something about these wish-fulfilment comedies that can playfully strike a chord with something very primal in audiences. This enables a sort of forgiveness that encourages the essential suspension of disbelief. It’s necessary with films like this to avoid thoughts like “there’s no way they’d ACTUALLY do something like this”. That sort of thinking is utterly pointless and denies the viewer the opportunity to enjoy the ride. So, word of warning, this is not a documentary, this is a farcical comedy and should be treated as such. Apart from the fact that this is rather conventional fare and the end could have used a bit more punch, Horrible Bosses is a hilarious comedy and thanks to the easy-on-the-eye cast and a colourful cinematographer it’s a very pleasant film to watch. The script is tight, the laughs are plentiful, and the jokes are naughty! What more could you want in a summer comedy?!