With proven funnymen Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, not to mention proven A-list stars like Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx, it’s hard not to be excited about HORRIBLE BOSSES. Warner Brothers has assembled a comedic version of THE AVENGERS and is hoping that at least one actor of the bunch will appeal to every human on earth. But anyone that has sat through an Adam Sandler film or one of Ben Stiller’s many misfires knows that it’s not enough to have a talented group of actors assembled if you don’t know what to do with them when you get them. Given how seldom it is to see an all star comedy cast come together for positive results, audiences have a right to be skeptical of HORRIBLE BOSSES. But in a rare case of Hollywood getting comedy right, director Seth Gordon has managed to avoid all the normal pitfalls and has delivered a hilarious film with each cast member being used to perfection.
Three guys (Bateman, Sudeikis and Day) are sitting at their favorite bar having a few drinks, venting about how horrible their bosses are. One guy brings up the idea of murdering their bosses and then the next day each boss does something to cross the line, thus justifying the murdering in the minds of our heroes. Anyone that has had a real job has had a horrible boss and the three bosses in question are all exaggerated representations of real-life bosses you might know. Jennifer Aniston is the hugely sexually inappropriate boss, Spacey is the selfish backstabber and Farrell is the widely incompetent boss’s son. The beauty of the film is that neither Aniston, Spacey or Farrell carry this film. In fact, they’re only in it a short amount of time. They show up for their gags and then the film moves to the next scene. This may seem simple, but film history is ripe with comedies that overstayed their welcome.
The brilliance of HORRIBLE BOSSES is that it knows when to say when. The film moves at a lightning paced speed with the gags coming faster than you can laugh. As soon as one of the supporting characters has their moment, Gordon takes us to the next setup and quick laugh. The entire film is hilarious from start to finish. I loved all the supporting characters because I never got sick of any of them. No one became annoying or dry and the center three of Bateman, Sudeikis and Day proved to be a great trio that carried the film from one situation to another, all the while cracking us up along the way.
HORRIBLE BOSSES isn’t funny in the Apatow way in which it sets up characters we love and then puts them in funny situations. This is straight-up, three guys that want to kill their bosses and have no idea how to do it. They’re stupid at times, silly at others and the events that transpire are both unbelievable and outlandish. But it’s a great reminder that comedies, above all else, are supposed to be funny. And with that in mind, HORRIBLE BOSSES delivers.