Film Review – Horrible Bosses

The big thing that keeps the film watchable and entertaining is its performances. As I mentioned before, Foxx steals the show. Motherfucker Jones isn’t just given some of the film’s best lines; the scenes he’s featured in are all comedic highlights. That’s not to say this is a film where only one character makes an impression (call it The Hangover syndrome). The supporting cast is full of memorable characters in the form of the horrible bosses. Both Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston score big laughs playing against type as a balding, karate obsessed, cokehead and a nymphomaniac dentist, respectively. Out of the bosses only Kevin Spacey slightly disappoints. His part does have to shoulder more of the plot than his counterparts and he is appropriately menacing, but he’s not great at delivering the laughs.

It would seem strange to talk so much about the supporting cast before getting to the three leads, but that’s how this film goes. The lead trio does well in underwritten roles that are constantly overshadowed by the supporting players. Although we never get a full sense of the characters’ personalities (which they sometimes trade depending on the situation), the actors are all quite good. Their chemistry is spot on and their scenes together are what tie the picture together. This is the third team up for Sudeikis and Day after an episode of It’s Always Sunny… and last year’s Going the Distance. They have a good rapport that could lead to them becoming a successful comedy team in the future.

Horrible Bosses is directed by Seth Gordon. This is his third film in what is already a varied career. He made his feature debut with The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, one of my all time favorite documentaries. He followed that up with the bland and forgettable Vince Vaughn/Reese Witherspoon vehicle Four Christmases. With this newest film, Gordon has bettered his sophomore slump by working with a much more able cast and better material. The script, co-written by John Francis Daley (Sam Weir on everyone’s favorite one season show, Freaks & Geeks), has the elements of a great comedy, but it never completely comes together. For all the strong dialogue and memorable characters, there are many sequences that fall completely flat (such as the meeting between the boys and the first would-be hitman). As the film goes on, the situation gets more and more out of hand. This is expected in dark comedies, where the characters find themselves in deeper and deeper shit as the plot progresses. But with this film, things get sillier and less realistic as they go along. The film might have ended up more successful on the whole if it was grounded in the reality of the opening scenes and didn’t have such a desire to wrap everything up in a nice little bow. Like last month’s Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses features a dark comedy premise that is too afraid to show its teeth.

Final Grade: B-

Pages: 1 2


John is the co-host of The Macguffin Podcast, lover of 80s teen and horror films, and an independent filmmaker.

Follow him on Twitter or email him.

View all posts by this author