Saturday, July 9, 2011

Horrible Bosses

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Pals Hatch Homicide Plot in Raunchy Revenge Comedy

When three best friends meet for drinks after work one evening, each shares a tale of woe worse than the next about his boss from hell. Dale (Charlie Day) complains about how his, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), has been pressuring him to sleep with her, despite the fact that he’s head-over-heels in love with his fiancĂ©e Stacy (Lindsay Sloane). However, the sexually-harassed dental hygienist feels that he can’t quit his job, because it’s hard for him to get hired as a registered offender with a history of exposing himself to children.
Meanwhile, Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), the second banana at a chemical corporation, relates how he was being groomed to replace Jack Pellit (Donald Sutherland) as CEO, when the old man passed away unexpectedly, leaving the family-owned business to his son, Bobby (Colin Farrell). And the profligate heir has already started to run the company into the ground by firing loyal employees and frittering away profits on prostitutes and cocaine.
Last but not least there’s Nick (Jason Bateman), an executive at an investment firm who was recently passed over for a promotion promised to him by his sadist (Kevin Spacey) of a boss. In fact, Mr. Harken is so Machiavellian he’d fire somebody for being two minutes late.
In the real world, these buddies would probably just cry in their beer about being abused in the workplace and leave it at that. But in the realm of revenge comedy such situations serve as the cinematic fodder for rationalizing murder. Thus, the distasteful premise of Horrible Bosses actually has the beleaguered trio entering a conspiracy to kill their tormentors.
Directed by Seth Gordon (Freakonomics), Horrible Bosses plays out as a meanspirited indulgence in vengeance way too preposterous on its face for any sane person to suspend disbelief for even a second. After all, what guy in his right mind who has Jennifer Aniston throwing herself at him is going to resort to homicide, even if he’s not inclined to take her up on the offer? Similarly, nobody normal decides to go postal like Dale’s pals because of their being denied a raise.
Be that as it may, this flawed flick has our hapless heroes consulting a hit man (Jamie Foxx) before becoming hopelessly embroiled in a harebrained scheme. Don’t be surprised to find yourself rooting for the bosses instead of these three stooges should you opt to invest in this implausible adventure.
As for the brand of humor, the graphic shocksploit repeatedly relies on curse words and the crudest of vulgarities for punch lines as opposed to creativity or sophisticated repartee. For example, Jamie Foxx’s character’s name is Mother-[expletive] Jones. Why, because he [expletived] his mother. How charming. In another scene, maneater Dr. Harris blackmails Dale with, “If you don’t [expletive] me, I’m going to tell Stacy you [expletived] me. How ladylike.
An overindulgence in coarse language exposing profanity as the hobgoblins of small minds and unimaginative scripts.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for sexuality, crude humor, pervasive profanity and some drug use.
Running time: 100 minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema

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