Review: HORRIBLE BOSSES (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Review: HORRIBLE BOSSES (2011)


Have you ever experienced where you have to live like hell facing with an a-hole boss, or to some extent, bosses? I bet at some point in our life, we all deal with the same problem. Now take that everyday situation and transplants it into a feature movie -- voila! You got yourself HORRIBLE BOSSES, a highly kinetic comedy filled with outlandish screwball moments, exceptionally hilarious cast and energetic direction by Seth Gordon.

Well, at least for the first third of the movie, HORRIBLE BOSSES is exceptionally great -- particular on the opening scene, which focuses on many kinds of humiliation and abuse that our three protagonists must endure everyday dealing with their horrible bosses.

The first protagonist is Nick (Jason Bateman), who have to work his ass off everyday in the office to impress his boss, Dave Harkin's (Kevin Spacey) in hoping to nail the vice president post. But much to his surprise, Dave announces to everybody that he's rather taking over the vice president role himself than promote his best employee. The second one is Dale (Charlie Day), a recently-engaged dental assistant who faces a living hell working with a nymphomaniac dentist-boss, Dr. Harris (Jennifer Aniston). She is particularly likes to harass him sexually at any manner possible, even when there is a patient around. The third one is Kurt (Jason Sudelkis), a womanizing account manager suffering from his coked-up new boss, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell) who takes over the company after the recent death of his father (Donald Sutherland). By night, the three of them will hang out in a bar boozing away their sorrow and frustration over their equally horrible bosses. So far, so good. From here, the situations they are facing are perfectly involving and I won't be surprised you feel sympathy for them. If the movie would have follow this route realistically, HORRIBLE BOSSES might have been a masterpiece.

Instead, director Seth Gordon and screenwriters Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, and Jonathan Goldstein opted to go as broad as possible. Yup, cue to those formulaic cliches you often find in many R-rated Hollywood comedies. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean the movie is bad. In fact, it's not but frankly, I was expecting the filmmakers could have done better than resorting into lots of tried-and-tested mainstream formula. So what follows next is a one night of drunken conversation where the three of them hypothetically agrees that their lives would be better if their bosses were dead. None of them are actually serious about that crazy plan, until Dale had enough with his own boss and decides to make it happen. So they are thinking of hiring a hitman to do their dirty work but all they can afford on their tiny budget is a so-called "murder consultant" in the form of Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx) -- no kidding, that is his name and you'll be laughing your ass off how he gets that "motherfucker" nickname in the first place -- a committed felon they met him in a shady bar who recommends them they each murder one another's bosses and make all the killings look like accidents. Unfortunately things get more complicated than they thought when one of them witnesses an unexpected circumstance. If that's not bad enough, the police begins to target them as murder suspects and they soon find themselves landing in a hot soup.

Despite the movie's eventual move into cliches territory, there's no doubt Gordon and his crew still able to crank up the picture with enough comic energy to keep the viewers occupied. Thanks to his assured direction, the movie is blessed with a breakneck pace that moves in a sustainable momentum. For most parts, the screenplay contains plenty of amusing and at times memorable moments -- the scene where Kurt does the toiletries part (you just have to see it for yourself); the hilarious parody scene of the old "leaping cat" cliche; the dream sequence where Nick had enough with his boss's antic and decides to kill him in a spectacular fashion; and some of the embarrassingly sexual moments involving Dale and Dr. Harris -- are all particularly worthwhile.

However, the movie remains the best when comes to the cast. All three protagonists -- Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudelkis -- are fun to watch for, especially with the latter two actors are destined to hit breakout roles into A-list superstars. The supporting actors, in the meantime, are even memorable. It's certainly refreshing to see the good old Kevin Spacey is back in his trademark slimy presence, playing an abusive boss like a back of his hand (His character's motto: "You can't win a marathon without putting some band-aids on your nipples! " is certainly the catchphrase of the moment). Jennifer Aniston is similarly capable, trading her usual girl-next-door type into someone who is nasty and sexually aggressive. I mean, who could have thought that Aniston manages to pull off a nymphomaniac role so convincingly, yet hilarious enough at the same time? Colin Farrell, on the other hand, scores a rare performance in a comedy role. Nearly unrecognizable in a bad comb-over and a coked-up attitude, Farrell's despicable turn is a tour de force revelation that I bet you will never believe an actor like him can pull off such a role. One thing though, his character is cut off too fast whereas he suppose to deserve more screen time in this movie. As for Jamie Foxx, he may have appeared in a small role but he often steals the show each time he appears on the screen. As mentioned earlier, his profane name alone is spot-on hilarious.

While HORRIBLE BOSSES is hardly a classic, the movie remains highly recommended for the masses looking for a hugely entertaining R-rated comedy.

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