Preview: ‘Horrible Bosses’

After having just been to see a preview for the movie ‘Horrible Bosses’, I can say that it’s horrible in both positive and negative ways: in parts, it is horribly funny, but in others it is just horribly boring.

A lot of it made me think of ‘The Hangover’: three guys who get into an increasingly difficult situation until it reaches boiling point. However, being a much shorter and singular film, it lacks a certain something: charisma, plausibility and depth.

The basic plot runs as such: Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) are the employees of three horrific bosses, including the nymphomaniac Julia (Jennifer Aniston), the psychotic Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) and the drug-addled Bobby Pellet (Colin Farrell). When it becomes impossible to either leave the job or reason with the boss, they all plan to murder each others bosses by finding out their weak points. Chaos ensues, leading to a car chase, a reversal of blackmail and one unexpected murder.

Being a succinct hour and a half film, it’s both light-hearted and lacking in the depth which could make the situations funnier. As long as you take it for surface material without a plot-line that would survive scrutiny. A lot of films are capable of surviving on this, but ‘Horrible Bosses’ lacks the instant pull and chemistry of those films that do survive on being far-fetched yet brilliant. I think a lot of this has to do with the cast: individually, they’re all hilarious, but together they lack a proper bond which would make them feel a bit more authentic. Jason Bateman in particular had his subtly funny moments, choosing the slightly more sophisticated manner of getting the joke across without hamming it up and ruining it’s spontaneity within the script. This is also true of Sudeikis and Charlie Day, so it does puzzle me slightly that they gelled in style but not character-wise.

The plot was classic: who hasn’t wanted to show their boss who’s boss? The spiral of events that lead on from the antics of these horrific bosses. In that way, the plot begins empathetically enough. It’s hard to place my finger on where the film lost me, but I did get bored. I think the bulk of the plot was quite slow to start, with the introduction to the main scenarios taking quite a while in comparison to the incredibly fast-pace of the main action, and nothing seemed especially well linked. Julia’s plot in particular seemed quite removed from the premise of the film, and whilst the point was that when Jennifer Aniston is harassing you it might not count as the worst thing in the world, it seemed to depreciate the overall point of the film. Likewise, Bobby Pellet’s story climax was a bit understated in terms of him being a boss, with the majority of the plot being dedicated to horrible boss Dave Harken, who was a bit too psychotic to be overly funny.

Whilst there were definitely laugh-out-loud moments and these moments weren’t overacted and ruined, it was a bit hit and miss overall, and I don’t think it’s one that’s worth more than one watch. It wasn’t through a lack of effort, but ‘Horrible Bosses’ was a bit of a half-hearted film that could have made a lot more of itself.

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