It’s often crude and it’s often lewd. They talk about things in the film that you wouldn’t discuss at your family dinner table. Stuff happens and things are said in this movie that magazine and newspaper movie columnists can’t describe on their pages, or TV film critics are unable to repeat during an on-the-air broadcast review. This film is an equal opportunity abuser – fat people, blacks, gays, dentists, even the cops all come off looking bad or are served up as a part of a joke or a reference in the film. On top of all that – and despite all that I’ve just told you about the film, Horrible Bosses is hilarious.
Let’s set up the opponents:
Jason Bateman is Nick Hendricks. He’s been at this firm for 8 years. He works for Kevin Spacey who plays Dave Harken. Harken trots around in pin striped vested suits, gold power ties, and his ego and power know no boundaries. As he says to Nick, ‘I own you. You’re my bitch. I can crush you any time I want.’
While Bateman does Bateman which isn’t new, he’s quite good as the moral center who tries to keep a tight reign on his more excitable partners, but he’s also a person who can’t escape his current job dilemma. Harken has promised to trash him unmercifully if asked for a reference. Spacey on the other hand hasn’t been this deliciously hateful since he played Mel Profitt to Ken Wahl’s Vinnie Terranova in the TV series Wiseguy.
Charlie Day plays Dale Arbus. He’s a dental technician, he’s happily engaged, law enforcement has hung an unfair label on him, and most of the time at work – he has to fend off his boss Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. – a sexually voracious man-eater both literally, and figuratively.
In this role we have Jennifer Anniston, who simply aces this role which crossed into uncharted territories for her as an actress. She’s hot for Charlie, or any male with working apparatus, and for Charley, simply being in the same room with her is nearly a compromising situation.
Jason Sudeikis appears as Kurt, the last of the belabored trio of guys who hate their bosses. He’a decent guy, good at his job as the firm accountant – his weakness is that he has an eye for the members of our population who wear skirts. Kurt works for the Pellitt Chemical Company headed up by Donald Sutherland, who is a sweetheart of a boss in his brief cameo. But Sutherland punches out rather early and definitely unexpectedly, and the company is taken over by his slacker/playboy/druggie son Bobby Pellitt who’s role is played by Colin Farrell. Farrell is almost unrecognizable (with his elaborate comb-over ‘do’) and he doesn’t get a lot of screen time. On his first day as the new Company president he orders Kurt to trim the fat on the payroll – by firing all the fat people. He’s a real tool. He’s also called an asshole.
There’s your opponents for this film-ic scrimmage. Our three mice, umm, heroes – meet for drinks and somehow they hatch an idea to kill their bosses, or more accurately, they decide to hire someone to do it for them. A google search leads them to some-one who uses the term wet-work in his ad. Dale says this is a code word for blood will flow, and is used in the assassination trade.
But it turns out, that this some-one is not exactly what the boys wanted either, so cue up Jamie Foxx’s entrance. While Foxx as Dean ‘MF’ Jones (take a wild guess as what the MF stands for) portrays an outwardly unsavory ex-con – he’s not the one to do the “wet-work” either. But he strikes a deal with our boys.
Cash changes hands and the fun begins.
And I mean that. Our boys are neither killers, nor are they even close to being capable of doing the deeds. Scripted by a trio of screenwriters that sounds more like an LA law firm – Markowitz, Daley, & Goldschimdt and directed by Seth Gordon – this is really a funny movie. It has all the hallmarks of a frat-boy joke fest with its dependence on some light slapstick humor, with some often puerile and scatological references, and abundant sexual references that are smartly crossed with some old and iconic Alfred Hitchcock movie murder strategies.
Factor in superb performances by Anniston and Spacey, and I think you’re going to have a hit on your hands, because with certainty I can report that it all works. It may not be sophisticated or clever but I lost track of the number of times I LOL’ed (that’s laughed out loud). Once the word-of-mouth gets out – and the Transformer crowd (read younger) and the Larry Crowne crowd (read older) search for follow up films to see – it’s going to be this one.