Horrible Bosses was a delicious surprise. I went half expecting some semi-entertaining Hangover knockoff, and was delightfully stunned at how truly funny this film is at its core.
Yes, it has a few weak moments and some attempts at humor that are more crude than funny, but it is a rollickingly good time.
While the stars of the film are Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, who form the trio of abused employees who engage in an idiotic conspiracy to get rid of their tyrannical employers, the three horrible bosses of the film’s title carry this picture. Without question, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, and particularly Jennifer Aniston propel this sublimely raunchy laughfest to levels that are a delight at all times.
Spacey does his best work since American Beauty as a self-centered boss who mocks and taunts the poor Mr. Bateman at every turn. As always, Bateman is great as a put-upon sad sack, and there is a classic scene between he and Spacey concerning the former’s recently deceased grandmother that is likely to bring tears of comic joy to your eyes.
Colin Farrell continues to do some of his best work in small, eccentric roles. One of the most enjoyable films of the past five years was In Bruges (2008), where Mr. Farrell plays a grief stricken hit man haunted by his past actions. In addition, he was totally convincing as a folk singer starring opposite the Oscar winning Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart (2009). And finally, he was part of a tremendous ensemble cast in the totally overlooked World War II escape film, The Way Back (2010), playing to the hilt a psychotic, amoral prisoner of war. Here, he is a paunchy, hair-challenged drug and sex addict lunatic who inherits his beloved father’s company much to Jason Sudeikis’ regret. God is he funny.
However, this film truly belongs to both Jennifer Aniston and the above-mentioned Charlie Day. Ms. Aniston stretches herself in a manner not seen since her wonderful performance in the entertaining The Good Girl (2002), in this case as a demented dentist who relishes sexually harassing her male hygienist, a convicted sex offender played by Mr. Day. She is enthusiastically as vulgar as she is obscene, and hopefully she has now broken free of her series of rather whiny performances where she seems to be doing little but playing on both her “Friends” image as well as being the sad ex-Mrs. Brad Pitt.
Mr. Day, who I have been told is brilliant in the TV comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, is a complete scream as the victim of Ms. Aniston’s unwanted advances who can’t quit his job because his prior sex conviction will keep him from finding another. He is further troubled by the unfairness of his conviction, particularly since it simply involved urinating in a grade school playground after midnight when no one was there. Or as he puts it, “Who would really put a playground next to a bar anyway?”
Get the idea? Do yourself a favor and see this caustically loveable film while it still remains in the theater.