Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

July 26, 2011


Leave the kids at home. Have a responsible glass of wine or bottle of beer. Go to the cinema, get good seats, and see the most depraved good time you can have in a movie theater this season. Watch Horrible Bosses, and if you don’t laugh out loud at least once, your sense of humor is chaste and most likely buried under some air of moral supremacy.

The film has been called raunchy, and it is. Childish and contrived, and it is. Coarse and profane? It really is. So now you understand what an ‘R’ rating means when the MPAA assigns it. Horrible Bosses is neither genius nor original, but man alive it is funny. We as a culture need more of that, by whatever means necessary, raunchy and childish as it is.

The premise is dark and twisty, just the way I like my movies. Three guys have three horrifying bosses: a psycho, a tool, and a man-eater. With just a little convincing, it becomes clear to the trio that their supervisors must perish. Why not just quit? The script addresses this rather natural solution, letting the audience know that each of the three has his own reasons for not just leaving his current employ.

Nick (Jason Bateman) has been told by his psycho boss (Kevin Spacey) that should he even think about quitting, a letter would be written to all potential future employers about Nick’s fictitious lack of work ethic and alleged alcoholism. So quitting would mean going into an entirely new industry, which is not good for a man approaching midlife.

Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) is influenced by a friend who has fallen victim to his unemployment, offering sexual favors to men in bar bathrooms in order to survive. This option is also unappealing to anyone thinking of rendering himself jobless. His tool boss is a coke addict with no respect for human life. Kurt would be doing to world a favor by removing Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell in a bald cap with a comb-over).

And finally, Dale (Charlie Day) can’t quit his job because of an incident in which he was (wrongly) labeled a sex-offender, rendering him less than employable by anyone other than man-eater Dr. Julia Harris (a brunette Jennifer Aniston), who herself is an unabashed sexual harasser. Death seems fitting for two out of the three.

So, through the joyous moral-free environment of fiction, we get to dream about killing bosses with these guys. Add Jaime Foxx (who is so very entertaining) as a consort of sorts, and the package is complete. Horrible Bosses is very much a ‘guy flick’, with enough of Jennifer Aniston’s skin to make anybody go Ah-Ooga. Also, there are no superheroes, no magic body swapping, no monkeys—just really funny guys being funny guys. And Kevin Spacey delivering evil like nobody else can.

It’s not going to win awards, really, but so long as you’re not terribly opposed to sex, drugs, and a little bit of premeditated murder in your entertainment, you’ll enjoy this film. Catch Horrible Bosses with friends; it’s the kind of movie that’s better in groups.

CalCoastNews film critic Miranda Foresman lives in Arroyo Grande.