Jason Bateman as Nick Hendricks
Charlie Day as Dale Arbus
Jason Sudeikis as Kurt Buckman
Kevin Spacey as David Harken
Jennifer Aniston as Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S.
Colin Farrell as Bobby Pellitt
Jamie Foxx as Motherf*cker Jones
Horrible Bosses is a comedy about three guys who are tormented by asshole employers. I’m not so sure that I would consider that a good plot. I mean, a lot of sitcoms have a mean boss as a member of the guest cast, but it’s not very often that said boss is even in the 40% of most important characters on the show (Cosmo Spacely from The Jetsons being an exception). Still, it works reasonably well in this film.
It doesn’t hurt that there’s a wealth of talent in the cast. You probably recognize a few actors I mentioned above, and the three leads do very good jobs as well. Their comic timing is strong, and the mannerisms of the characters are communicated well.
Despite the early comparison to sitcom bosses, this movie has a much darker tone. Nick, Dale, and Kurt all have bosses who are abusive in very different ways. So the three employees seek to murder their bosses. They pay a thug named Motherf*cker Jones several thousand dollars to advise them on pulling off the hits without getting caught and so begins the careers of three of the worst assassins in the history of cinema.
I should add that I like this kind of black humor. Sure, it’s ugly to some, but I find it funny. While this doesn’t do as well some I’ve seen, it’s enjoyable enough.
The characters are well-fleshed out for a comedy. Nick is the office worker looking for a promotion, is willing to “take shit” for it, but his sucking up unfortunately doesn’t stop his boss from hating and cheating him out of the promotion. Dale is an old-fashioned lovebird looking forward to getting married (so he very much minds being the target of gender-bending sexual harassment). Kurt seems to have a good thing going until his boss dies, to be replaced by the spoiled, nepotist son who doesn’t give a shit about the company and will sell as soon as he sees a nice profit.
Most dark comedies don’t have the guts to end as perversely as the plot indicates. This is true of Horrible Bosses, but it’s less true than usual. The fate of the bosses is… let’s say not pleasant.
Horrible Bosses is definitely not one of my favorite comedies, but if you see it on TV, catch it.
Overall: 7 out of 10