Friends Nick, Kurt and Dale all hate their bosses. Nick’s boss Dave has psychotic tendencies. Kurt’s new boss Bobby is a habitual drug user. Dale’s boss Julia makes unwanted sexual advances towards him on a daily basis. The trio contemplate killing their bosses, but things don’t go according to plan…
Horrible Bosses works very well as a 15-rated comedy. The humour is sometimes lewd but never descends too far into crassness. There are some very amusing site gags as well as a script that is punctuated with humour throughout. The comedy has a universal appeal. It is not too close to the bone as to offend people, yet there are some darkly humorous jokes.
Seth Gordon’s film is well paced, and provides some tension (although this is never without humour). Given the premise, the narrative seems quite predictable from the outset. Nevertheless, the film features a number of small twists, making it more difficult to predict the outcome. Horrible Bosses does some of the things expected of it, but subverts other elements.
Considering that there are several main characters, it is unsurprising that the film relies on stereotypes to a certain extent. The trio of friends are sufficiently developed and have a believable relationship. However, the screenwriters have made the bosses into caricatures. This may sound like a negative, but it reality it is not. Given the genre, these over-the-top characters are responsible for much of the film’s humour. The bosses are given the freedom to be as outlandish as possible, making them far worse than the average nasty employer. As well as creating humour, this gives credence to the murder plot.
Horrible Bosses boasts great performances from its stellar cast. Jason Bateman is as watchable as ever as Nick, playing the straight guy to the more comical friends. Jason Sudeikis is a lot of fun as Kurt, while Charlie Day once again shows off his comedy chops as Dale. Jamie Foxx is amusing in a small role.
As Dave, Kevin Spacey appears to be playing a more heighten version of himself. Colin Farrell is wildly amusing as Bobby, but is sadly underused. Jennifer Aniston is great as Julie. It is refreshing to see her in a different type of role, which goes some way to redeem her recent film choices. Aniston also seems to be having a lot of fun with her character.
Horrible Bosses is highly recommended for mainstream comedy fans. Although it is unlikely to win any awards, it should prove very enjoyable for audiences.
Horrible Bosses is out in UK cinemas on 22nd July 2011.