Film Review – Horrible Bosses 2

Horrible Bosses 2

Horrible Bosses 2

I don’t recall what my initial reaction to Horrible Bosses was way back in 2011, but its recent and constant rotation on HBO has convinced me it’s a perfectly serviceable comedy that works great as background noise while you’re cleaning your oven. That might not sound like a ringing endorsement but dependable comedies aren’t as easy to come by as you’d think. And my oven now looks spectacular. Thanks guys!

Horrible Bosses 2 picks up on the entrepreneurial lives of Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day), who are now working for themselves and making the media rounds attempting to secure a patent on Shower Buddy, a shower head that automatically dispenses shampoo or something. The specifics are unclear as it’s simply an excuse to parlay into a mistakenly mimed gay tryst on live television. It’s a much crasser gag than any I recall from the original movie and sets the stage for what’s to come: Gay panic and yelling. Lots of yelling.

Horrible Bosses 2 Movie Still 1

Christoph Waltz joins the fun as Bert Hanson, a conniving would-be businessman who appears to have made quite a comfortable living screwing people over. Aided by his son Rex (Chris Pine), Bert swoops in and steal the boys’ idea after tricking them into putting all their money and elbow grease into a non-existent sale. Nick is especially furious and it isn’t long before another ill-advised plan is formed. Kidnap Rex, demand a ransom and ride off into the sunset together.

Things quickly become complicated.

The appeal of the original Horrible Bosses, aside from that bugnuts performance by Colin Farrell, was the unhinged camaraderie between our three leads. Nick is the rational one, Kurt is the hornball and Dale is the burgeoning psychopath with the heart of gold. Despite the perpetual bickering, they share the same goal and work together to achieve it. While this helped propel the original, the formula is beginning to show its age already. First of all, the stakes are considerably lower. No one’s life is on the line, at least initially. Nick continues to be the strained voice of reason amidst the chaos and Bateman relishes the opportunity as always. But are we really to believe he’d put himself in this situation to begin with? Especially after their near-capture last time? I know, I know. I’m looking for logic in all the wrong places.

Horrible Bosses 2 Movie Still 2

Furthermore, Waltz seems flat-out miscast. It’s easy to see why they chose to cast him as the villain based on his roles of late and yet he is given nothing to do but sneer. Fortunately, Chris Pine is gives enough smarm for the both of them. And because it wouldn’t be a modern-day sequel without trotting out former faves, Jamie Foxx returns as Motherf—-er Jones, his negotiation tactics flimsy as ever. Kevin Spacey is also back, barking at the boys behind the discomfort of prison glass. Both actors are having fun, which the extended blooper reel that overtakes the end credits is eager to remind us. More troublesome is the return of Jennifer Aniston as the sex-crazed Dr. Julia Harris. I appreciate Aniston’s devotion to this deviant and got a kick out of her performance the first time around. There are two jokes in particular here, however, that would never, ever fly if the gender roles were reversed. You’ll know them when you see them. They stand out like sore thumbs in an otherwise inoffensive offensive comedy.

I liked Horrible Bosses 2 okay and will surely come to appreciate it more after my 10th HBO viewing. Until then…


Nick's eyes were opened to a film's capabilities with his first viewing of L.A. Confidential and he's spent every day since then doggedly pursuing impactful movies big and small.

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