Wednesday 21 December 2011

Review: Horrible Bosses

Year: 2011
Director: Seth Gordon
Screenplay: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey

Synopsis is here

As someone who is usually easily amused at pretty much everything, it's a shame that I'm so dismayed at the mainstream American comedy. Sitting through Horrible Bosses only confirmed my fears. Negative grumbling's have stated that the film is racist and homophobic. I didn't think so; and as a dark comedy, I expect a film like this to go down paths that are a little risky. The troubling thing about Horrible Bosses is it's not outrageous enough, from it's pretty bland straight characters to it's lacklustre, quickly hashed out ending, the film just doesn't push the bar high enough. I'm not the biggest Hangover 2 fan, but despite the spitefulness that infiltrates that movie, it gets the point.

Take in case the man eating, boss character of Jennifer Aniston. The film does well to show off how well Aniston looks after herself. In fact at points I found her more attractive here then when she was younger in friends. But her sexiness distracts from her point in the movie. In the same way you're not fooled when Rachel Leigh Cook puts on her hipster glasses and claims nerd, you find it near hard to believe that Day's character is completely turned off by Aniston's advances. It would be more entertaining if we had some one you could consider less attractive. I may be wrong in saying that but I do feel more comedy could be pulled from Charlie Days revulsion if the antagonist wasn't a smoking hot babe. Think Matt Lucas' Bubbles in Little Britain.

In fact I found myself relating Horrible Bosses to some of the brilliant comedies that grace our screens now. Shows that are quicker with the jokes, push the bars of taste and decency further and are generally more amusing than their cinematic counterparts. A barrage of shows including Charlie Day's own It's always sunny in Philadelphia, hit their comedic marks harder than this 9 to 5 update. I pick Day's show not only because of the connection of line crossing comedy, but because Day's Pilot for It's always sunny cost $200 and was far more amusing with it's envelope pushing. 

This isn't to say the film has it's moments. Despite undermining the comedy somewhat, Aniston is clearly game for a laugh, as is Farrell who both make the best out of their somewhat marginalised plots. It's obvious however that it's Spacey who has the most fun however, as he eats up his ignorant, arrogant asshole character with an extra large spoon. The three antagonist are infinitely more entertaining than the straight men who are difficult to even picture as friends let alone anything else. It's not that Bateman, Sudeikis or Day are particularly bad, it's just that they are bland.  Take away some admittedly amusing, awkward scenes involving a certain Oscar winning actor and you realise that there's not that much that the trio take to the party.

Horrible Bosses is underbaked and forgettable and unfortunately comes at a time in which Television is bringing stronger, more outlandish, dark humour which are better with the references and does nasty right. A night in with a good series weighs in far better than this weak entry.