Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Bosses are hard to like. Bad habits, unreasonable demands... We've experienced it at one point or another. It's not very often though, that they give their subordinates such a hard time that they're compelled enough to hatch a murder plot in response. That's the premise of Horrible Bosses, a comedy helmed by three comedians with great runs on television series. Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live) and Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) star as Nick, Kurt and Dale respectively. Each of them is pitted against their very own horrible boss: Nick against the ultra-manipulative David Harkin (Kevin Spacey), Kurt against cokeheaded Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell) and Dale versus the man-eating Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). The trio is fine until two really horrible days at work convinces them that their lives would be better off without their bosses. They eventually hire Dean "Motherf***er" Jones, their “murder consultant” who advises them to kill each other's bosses.
As you can probably tell, this isn't the most original plot in the world. However, it is a strong premise and the cast milks all that’s worth from it through a series of great performances, gross-out gags and raunchiness, especially in Jennifer Aniston's case. Instead of conjuring huge laughs in a while, the film is consistently funny for the duration you stay in the theatre, making you chuckle throughout the entire show. The somewhat dark and voyeuristic aspects of the situations give the film a mild dark comedic flavour which might not be obvious at first glance but is definitely present in spots and patches.
How does it achieve that? With such an esteemed ensemble cast, the problem was always going to be if they could mesh on screen with enough chemistry to keep viewers engaged. Thankfully, they do. The three leads complement each other perfectly, with Bateman's straight-laced guy act flanked by the womanizing Sudeikis and Day's ridiculousness. Nick's frustration is palatable when his sidekicks' Achilles Heels (Kurt's womanizing and Dale's general lack of common sense) get situations even worse than they were, making things seem even funnier than they really are. Just the dynamics of the trio alone are enough to garner some laughs through their dialogue and they play off each other beautifully. Their bosses are just as perfectly cast, with good girl Aniston playing a vamped up nymphomaniac and Colin Farrell doing a hilarious parody of his drugged up bad boy reputation. Kevin Spacey delivers a mean, evil and paranoia-filled performance as the main villain that is classic Spacey, except with a touch of over the top-ness that is prevalent everywhere in this movie.
All in all, Horrible Bosses is a fantastic film that saves itself from mediocrity through its cast. A mix of great performances along with some really funny shenanigans and the relatable nature of the film prevent the film from heading south any time in the film.
Remember when Seth Rogen conquered 2007 with Knocked Up and Superbad? 2011 is Jason Bateman's year. Just you watch.