I’ve got to start off by saying Horrible Bosses is a terrible movie title.  Out of all the crap that’s been churned out of the Summer Movie Machine, it’s got the worst, most awkward, and least creative movie title.  It’s like nobody could agree on a title, so everybody in the studio put their title ideas into a hat, and the one they drew was the one written in purple Crayon by the studio exec’s 5-year-old niece.

Title aside, Horrible Bosses actually wasn’t all that horrible.

The premise of the movie is a bit strange to me, I mean would three normal guys really be driven to murder by their bosses? No matter how “horrible”?  But the whole movie is ridiculous and over the top in a good way, so I was able to put that strangeness aside.

Far and away the funniest performance was by Charlie Day (of It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia fame), who played his usual blustering, bumbling, and lovably naive character in the form of Dale, a dentists assistant tired of the constant sexual harrassment by his perpetually libidinous boss, Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. played by a surprisingly sexy Jennifer Aniston.  This boss/disgruntled employee pairing was my favorite out of the three, Day’s hilariously distraught recollections of his workplace woes only provoke chiding from his buddies, who don’t see the advances of a beautiful woman to be a problem.  Aniston played a role much more sultry than usual, and she clearly relished her role as temptress, which was fun to watch.

The other pairings in the movie weren’t quite as strong however.  For instance the relationship between Jason Bateman‘s character Nick and his boss Dave Harkin, played by a seething Kevin Spacey, was a bit over the top for me.  Spacey clearly had fun being bad, but I didn’t quite buy his character.  Though still entertaining, the Aniston/Day conflict was just much more humorous, and less er, painful to watch.  The dynamic between Jason Sudeikis as Kurt, and his coke-head boss Bobby Pellit, played by a heavily make-upped and balding Colin Farrell could have been funny, but of the three it wasn’t developed nearly as much.  He also seemed like a cheap knockoff of Tom Cruise’s very similar, balding and heavily make-upped character, Les Grossman, in the movie Tropic Thunder.

Another problem I have with the movie however, is a problem I have with most comedies that are released these days, and that problem is with its marketing.  These days you can’t even turn on the TV or open the internet without having movie trailers shoved down your throat.  Don’t get me wrong, I love movie trailers, I spend hours on the internet watching movie trailers, and sometimes I even like movie trailers more than movies, but when you go to see a comedy and you know exactly what’s going to happen, and every joke from the movie., that’s a problem.  There’s got to be a balance there.  Trailers are great, but when I watch a movie and most the funniest parts aren’t funny at all because I’ve already seen them a hundred times, it really takes a lot of the fun out of it. Horrible Bosses is definitely that way, and if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve pretty much seen the movie.  Even with that being the case, I still found myself laughing out loud a lot in this movie.

Making the best out of a strange premise, the lead actors have a good chemistry, with Bateman doing his usual straight man amongst crazies bit (see: Arrested Development),contrasting nicely with the bumbling antics of funny guy Day, and ladies man (huh?) Sudeikis. This hilarious chemistry is what saves the movie for me. At times their stupidity and naivité is almost painful to watch, and the circumstances they find themselves in are always over the top, but their ability to work off each other and turn what could be stale one-liners into extended moments of awkward comedy gold, and is what makes Horrible Bosses worth the price of admission.

From Left: Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis

So overall, I think Horrible Bosses succeeds amongst a sea of summer movie mediocrity thanks to the comedic talents of it’s main actors despite a godawful title, and a less than believable premise.

-Andrew


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