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Nordling Says HORRIBLE BOSSES Isn't Horrible At All!

Nordling here.

If nothing else, it looks like this summer is pretty much owned by the R-rated comedy.  Of course, THE HANGOVER PART II is bringing in money hand over fist, but BRIDESMAIDS and BAD TEACHER seem to be doing very well, and they're good films to boot.  With the way film budgets are skyrocketing, I'd be very surprised if this doesn't become a trend - studios leaning towards more comedic fare that's cheaper to make as opposed to the giant superhero robot explosion movie.  They make a profit, and audiences love them, and they have a great shelf life.

It's too early to tell what kind of shelf life Seth Gordon's HORRIBLE BOSSES will have, but there's some explosively funny moments in it that come from the characters and the situations, and audiences will identify with it.  Three friends, Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) suffer under intolerable bosses at their jobs (played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston, respectively).   With the help of murder consultant "Motherfucker" Jones (Jamie Foxx), they decide to kill each other's bosses, but as things tend to happen in movies (and sitcoms) like this, there are complications.

First, the good news - the three leads have a terrific chemistry together and it's very enjoyable watching them riff off each other onscreen.  Bateman knows how to play these types of roles very well - his character reacts to things in a similar way to ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT's Michael Bluth and he makes the funny situations even funnier.  Sudeikis plays Kurt as a good-hearted man with a boner - he's happy to work at a company that helps the environment but has no moral quandries about sleeping with other men's wives.  And Charlie Day probably has the hardest job in the film, trying to convince the audience that he'd much rather be loyal to his fiancee than sleep with Jennfier Aniston's slutty dentist character.  And as Nick and Kurt observe in the film, Dale's problem doesn't seem like much to them, in comparison with Nick's flat-out evil boss (Kevin Spacey) and Kurt's money-mooching cokehead supervisor (Colin Farrell).  But Day is pretty funny here, fighting off Aniston's advances and trying to keep his own libido under control.  Dale is a good man and trying to do the right thing, but circumstances keep putting in in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jamie Foxx steals the movie in his every scene, and he plays with the characters' (and the audience's as well) assumptions.  Just hearing Bateman say Foxx's name in the film made me giggle - he's so damn earnest when he says it.  Spacey can play this role in his sleep.  It's practically a riff on every villainous role he's played in his career.  Colin Farrell transforms himself into a complete asshole - Sudeikis calls Farrell's apartment "douchebag central" - and he's really funny as well.  But I think Jennifer Aniston probably comes off the best of all the bosses here.  She's funny, kind of scary, and damn attractive; she uses it to her advantage, and Dale is pretty much helpless against her.  I've got no complaints about any of the actors.  Everyone acquits themselves well and much of the humor of the film is seeing these guys get into crazy situations and trying to extricate themselves from them.

What's not so good?  The movie pulls punches.  You can feel where the movie should have gone meaner and rougher with the characters and then pulls back.  The resolution is a little too pat when it should have gone more raw.  For its faults, THE HANGOVER PART II goes to some fairly dark places for its comedy, and HORRIBLE BOSSES should have taken a page out of that playbook.  It's a rough world out there in the job market.  The last comedy to really touch on this with any success was OFFICE SPACE, and I wanted more of that from HORRIBLE BOSSES, especially since it's such a different world economically since OFFICE SPACE was released.    I would have liked BOSSES to have gone into that territory more.  Instead of going to those places, HORRIBLE BOSSES shies away, and what could have been a seriously classic comedy on our current problems becomes something less.  There's comedy in true desperation and this film can't seem to mine that as well as it could have.

I laughed a lot at HORRIBLE BOSSES, and I think most audiences will enjoy it.  It's a lot of fun.  It could have been more than just fun, however, and could have reached the level of films like OFFICE SPACE, or IDIOCRACY, or the first HANGOVER.  It can't quite get there, but the film is still very enjoyable for all that, and if this trend of R-rated comedies continues soon a film will come along that is willing to go to places that HORRIBLE BOSSES didn't.  Until then, this will do fine.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • July 7, 2011, 9:47 p.m. CST


    by Witwiki50

    Looks crap, Anniston will be the usual

  • July 7, 2011, 9:48 p.m. CST

    by the way, heres our puppies!!..

    by Witwiki50

  • July 7, 2011, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Yeah, I'd complain if my boss was J. Aniston

    by Blanket-Man

    ...and she refused to stop coming on to me. TRANSFORMERS 3 is more plausible.

  • July 7, 2011, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Looking forward to seeing this tomorrow

    by Raggles Wimpole

    This looks funny. Just going by the trailers, which could be a mistake, Colin Farrell looks hilarious in this. His line about "rolling around in his secret little chair" made me laugh out-loud the first time I heard it & nobody is better then Kevin Spacey at playing a completely sadistic asshole who gets off on tormenting those unfortunate enough to be beneath him. I've always thought Charlie Day was the best part about "It's Always Sunny" & Jason Bateman is usually good in whatever he does. At worst, this HAS to be better than "The Hangover Part II."

  • July 7, 2011, 10:05 p.m. CST


    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

    I think the point is that they don't HATE their jobs... they just HATE their bosses. Get rid of the boss = the job is awesome. I've been in that position PLENTY of times, as I'm sure lots of people have. I've been looking forward to this movie for a while. I love Charlie Day! "DAY MAN (Ah, ah, ah!!)... Fighter of the NIGHT MAN (Ah, ah, ah!!)... Champion of the Sun! (Ah, ah, ah!!)... You're a master of karate... and friendship... for everyone!"

  • July 7, 2011, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Aniston looks hot in the poster

    by Witwiki50

    but thats about as far as my love for this movie goes

  • July 7, 2011, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Might be a good movie, but blanket and faulkner called it.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Farrell is straight out of Tropic Thunder, and if Anniston was your boss and came on to you you'd want her.

  • July 7, 2011, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Charlie day is in it??? Wow!!!

    by Norman Colson

    Where's mac, dennis and dee!??? lmao.

  • July 7, 2011, 10:37 p.m. CST

    EXTRACT is a great movie

    by MooseMalloy

  • July 7, 2011, 10:38 p.m. CST

    There is no way

    by Xiphos_2

    A reasonably heterosexual male wouldn't bang somebody that looks like Aniston that's offering up her cooze for free.

  • His two buddies even lampshade it by wondering why he has such an issue with her coming on to him. It'll make sense though.

  • It's like an inferno out there.

  • July 7, 2011, 11:08 p.m. CST

    Aniston hitting on employee,

    by Norman Colson

    There's nothing wrong with the fact that she's hitting on him. but he's engaged to someone else. That's the problem... Y'all havent seen the commercial. There are plenty of women out here that throw you the pussy when your engaged... lol.

  • Just shows how that shit is viewed in society.

  • July 8, 2011, 5:56 a.m. CST

    I can understand the issue with not wanting to fuck Aniston

    by TinSpider

    Sometimes no matter how hot a chic is, the fact she is a total pyscho will keep you limp dicked. Been there. Glad I didn't coz the dude who did was living a life of torment.

  • July 8, 2011, 7:28 a.m. CST


    by Andrew

    How do you know she's psycho? Do you know her?

  • July 8, 2011, 7:41 a.m. CST

    They both liked it but, but who's right, Nordling or Capone?

    by art123guy

    Nordling: For its faults, THE HANGOVER PART II goes to some fairly dark places for its comedy, and HORRIBLE BOSSES should have taken a page out of that playbook. Capone: The film gets dark and goes to some evil places, and each time it did, I loved it a little bit more.

  • July 8, 2011, 8:45 a.m. CST


    by stvnhthr

    Most of the original comedies you listed were somewhat crass and vulgar in their humor, confusing uncomfortable and inappropriate for actual comedy. Does this follow that trend or is it intelligently funny?

  • July 8, 2011, 9:06 a.m. CST

    The dude is engaged, why would he want to wreck that?

    by Sodomy Redux

    Usually when you get engaged you are the happiest with your mate that you are ever going to be. You don't WANT to ruin it by sleeping with your hot boss. Look if you are a mature male, you are going to realize that staying with your long-term mate is more satisfying than risk-fucking a really hot piece of ass. Besides, sleep with a dozen women and you will discover that one hot chick is pretty much the same as the other, there's just the primal thrill of slamming a new piece of ham. They all tend to be pretty bad in bed. So forget it, stay with the cute chicks - they try harder and are more real.

  • July 8, 2011, 9:06 a.m. CST

    LOL @ Psycho Women Comment

    by doom master

    A hot chick who is a total psycho keeps a man's dick limp? Hey, you know,you also have to figure sometimes the woman isnt a total psycho at all...Sometimes the woman ACTS that way to keep the man's dick limp, cuz she doesnt really want the guy in the first place. You ever think of that? Anyway, this movie blows.

  • July 8, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Aniston has Jolie hair in this movie!

    by gaygoonie

    Coincidence? I think no.

  • July 8, 2011, 10:39 a.m. CST


    by TheWacoKid

    Did you seriously put Idiocracy in the same league as Office Space and The Hangover? Idiocracy was one of the worst pieces of trash I have ever seen. My eyeballs hate me for seeing that. How is the same running joke over the course of an entire movie labeled as a good comedy? I am now not so sure about Horrible Bosses since it is being compared to crap.

  • July 8, 2011, 10:59 a.m. CST

    jennifer aniston is holding up really well

    by fat_rancor_keeper

    it'll be a sad day when she hits the wall

  • July 8, 2011, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Get rid of the hag.

    by kabong

    Come up with something new, hacks.

  • July 8, 2011, 12:22 p.m. CST

    yeah, yeah, yeah,

    by Bag_of_Hammers Aniston naked, I mean really naked, in this or not?

  • July 8, 2011, 3 p.m. CST

    Not trying to be difficult...

    by The Shropshire Slasher

    ...but, reach the level of IDIOCRACY?!?!?!?!? Yikes.

  • July 8, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Idiocracy is hilarious.

    by frank

    Definitely on par with Office Space and better than the Hangover imo.

  • See the movie. It was predictable after you get into it but its a good story.

  • July 11, 2011, 12:42 a.m. CST

    The last line of the flick was the icing on the cake.

    by The Founder