Summer Movie Guide 2011

Review: Horrible Bosses

Wednesday, July 6 by
 

Horrible Bosses is exactly the safe kind of mainstream comedy you’d expect it to be. It’s amusing and likeable because the three guys are funny. So no point lamenting the missed opportunity for a really dark satire, because they were never going to make that movie. At least this trio kept it entertaining.

Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) all have lousy bosses. Harken (Kevin Spacey) demeans and overworks Nick. Julia (Jennifer Aniston) sexually harasses Dale (it’s funny because it’s not a man intimidating a woman). Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell) is just coked-up and crazy.

There's Funny Stuff In 'Horrible Bosses' Red Band

You know Hollywood’s not going to make a movie about really killing your boss. Horrible Bosses at least has fun with three dorks exploring the underworld. Kurt especially makes continuous asides like he’s really reacting to the process of finding a hired killer. They’ve seen Strangers on a Train and Throw Mamma from a Train but apparently not 9 to 5, and you get some slapstick as they bumble through reconnaissance missions.

You know exactly where the story is going and it’s all to keep the heroes innocent and likeable. It’s pretty funny when Kurt plays petty pranks with Pellit’s toiletries. Dale has some good Charlie Day freak-outs. Bateman gets some good lines too so he’s not relegated to straight man. These three work together, and it’s kind of nice to see this generation’s reliable studio comedians emerge.

6 photosJennifer Aniston

The bosses get to be extreme too. Spacey is basically doing Swimming with Sharks light, but Aniston really relishes saying the P word and talking about touching herself. If you have trouble imagining a man disliking Aniston’s advances, consider that Dale actually has a loving fiancée he wants to be faithful to. Or, remember that in real life, oversexed aggressive women don’t look like Jennifer Aniston.

I was going to compliment one twist on a standard cliché, but then they followed it up with the usual cliché so it would be a spoiler. I thought Horrible Bosses was a little funnier than Bad Teacher. If you’re hating on The Hangover Part II, at least they’re going somewhere with their formula. You’d rather have an “original” plotline that plays it safe? Well, at least I’ve gotten to see Rubber and Detention, so I can let these summer comedies coast.