Bad bosses get job done

Hor­ri­ble Bosses

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Star­ring Ja­son Bate­man, Char­lie Day, Ja­son Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Colin Far­rell, Jen­nifer Anis­ton, Jamie Foxx. Writ­ten by Michael Markowitz, John Fran­cis Da­ley, Jonathan Gold­stein, di­rected by Seth Gor­don. 98 min­utes, Rated R, show­ing at Read­ing Cin­e­mas Porirua.

Ev­ery­body’s look­ing for the next The Hang­over – but even the se­quel to that chuckle-fest shows how tricky it is to cap­ture comedic light­ning in a bot­tle.

Hor­ri­ble Bosses has ar­rived with plenty of buzz – its script about three ha­rassed work­ers who de­cide to kill each other’s nasty em­ploy­ers was wor­thy of the famed Black List (the most hip, most cov­eted projects in Hol­ly­wood), and the premise bears an un­de­ni­ably at­trac­tive and re­lat­able hook.

Who hasn’t had a boss or work­mate who’s made their life or work­place mis­er­able?

To this end, Hor­ri­ble Bosses suc­ceeds as a pro­fane buddy com­edy in which three mates lose their moral com­pass and find them­selves up to their eye­balls in sticky sit­u­a­tions – hence The Hang­over com­par­i­son. But whereas that movie soared due to the mem­o­rable an­guish ex­pe­ri­enced by its lead­ing lads, who we came to love, Hor­ri­ble Bosses’ three bat­tlers fail to en­gage. Only their an­tag­o­nis­tic op­pres­sors leave a last­ing im­pres­sion.

Stu­dious straight-arrow Nick ( Ja­son Bate­man) is de­nied the pro­mo­tion he de­serves at a fi­nance com­pany when his boss, played by Kevin Spacey, snatches the vice-pres­i­dent’s hat him­self, in­clud­ing the ex­tra of­fice space and salary that come with it. Wimp­ish den­tal as­sis­tant Dale (Char­lie Day) is for­ever sex­u­ally ha­rassed and de­graded by Jen­nifer Anis­ton’s Dr Har­ris – such as squirt­ing wa­ter at his crouch.

Kurt ( Ja­son Sudeikis), mean­while, loves his ac­coun­tant’s job at a chem­i­cal com­pany, un­til his boss dies sud­denly and the busi­ness falls into the clutches of his mean-hearted, co­caine-ad­dled son (Colin Far­rell).

The three things I take away from Hor­ri­ble Bosses are: Spacey plays an ex­cel­lent bas­tard, but we al­ready know this from the far su­pe­rior and black-as-hell em­ployee re­venge tale Swim­ming With Sharks; ku­dos to Jen­nifer Anis­ton for fi­nally find­ing a char­ac­ter who isn’t a re­hash of Rachel from Friends; and Far­rell is an ab­so­lute riot as a combed-over, kung-fu coke head.

Di­rec­tor Seth Gor­don’s work on TV shows The Of­fice ( US ver­sion) and Mod­ern Fam­ily shows he knows how to bring the laughs – and he brings plenty here – but they don’t mean much when you care lit­tle about the char­ac­ters. Nick, Dale and Kurt ex­ist only to re­solve their work­place strife, we know bug­ger all else about them.

While Day brings his usual cracked-voice anx­i­ety – think Michael Cera meets ‘ Bob­cat’ Goldth­wait ( the nut from Po­lice Academy) – to his part, Bate­man and Sudeikis’ check­shirt stooges are al­most in­dis­tin­guish­able. I love Bate­man as a comic ac­tor but it’s frus­trat­ing that none of his film work is a patch on his old show Ar­rested De­vel­op­ment.

Man eater: Char­lie Day’s meek den­tal as­sis­tant is pushed to out­landish lim­its by his preda­tory boss (Jen­nifer Anis­ton).

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