HORRIBLE BOSSES 2
Directed by: Sean Anders
Written by: Sean Anders, John Morris
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey
HORRIBLE BOSSES 2, the aptly named sequel to 2011’s surprise hit, HORRIBLE BOSSES, falls primarily into the second category. By the time the end credits rolled on HORRIBLE BOSSES, a not unengaging, sporadically spot-on, wish-fulfillment take down of the excesses and abuses of the 1% by the put-upon, semi-downtrodden 99% (epitomized by three white men, it should be noted), not a single member of the moviegoing public, not to mention the usual assortment of critics, pundits, and bloggers, was clamoring for a sequel. That, of course, didn’t stop studio executives, flush with opening weekend box-office totals, to greenlight a sequel. While only a pale shadow of its not-so-illustrious predecessor, HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 offers more of the same, with minor differences. By “more of the same,” we mean crude, vulgar, and occasionally offensive humor, exactly what R-rated inclined audiences are looking for in adult-oriented comedies.
HORRIBLE BOSSES ended, as expected, with our hero-protagonists, Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), the embodiment of “good guyism,” Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis), smarm incarnate, Dale Arbus (Charlie Day), male neuroses personified, triumphant over their respective “horrible bosses,” Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), a Wall Street con artist, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell), all-around bully, and Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. (Jennifer Aniston), an unrepentant sexual harasser, more or less brought low (Harken in prison, Pellitt dead, and Harris cut off from the sexualized object of her desires). With their bosses gone, Nick, Kurt, and Dale decide to become bosses themselves, starting a company around their latest (and only) invention, the “Shower Buddy” (an all-in-one device that supposedly makes showering easier).
In a sign of things to come, their demonstration of the Shower Buddy on a local TV station goes predictably sideways, the result of malfunctioning equipment and supposedly innocent behavior seemingly sexual in nature. Their appearance on TV, however, brings them to the attention of a billionaire investor, Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz), and his obnoxious, spoiled son, Rex (Chris Pine). Bert makes the trio an offer that sounds too good to be true: He’ll act as their distributor for the Shower Buddy, but only if they can ramp up and produce 100,000 copies within a short time frame. It’s a scam, of course. The elder Hanson, as unethical as he is savvy, manipulates them into a bridge loan totaling $500,000 they can’t repay in time.
With their proverbial backs against the proverbial wall, the failing business partners do what failing business partners do: They turn or rather return to Dean “MF” Jones (Jamie Foxx), an oddly ineffectual criminal mentor with bourgeois pretensions. Jones’ presence functions as a callback to the earlier, significantly funnier film, but to be fair, for standalone humor too. This time out, Jones just wants to open a [egregious product placement alert]). The plot, such as it is, turns on the unsurprisingly botched kidnapping of the junior Hanson and exchanging him for the $500,000 they need. Dale’s tormentor, Julia Harris, also gets into the mix, albeit with diminishing returns, in large part because her role isn’t just a cameo or callback, but a significant one on its own. Her sexual aggression – excused here as nymphomania – offers one or two laughs, but it also crosses over into disturbing territory (rape of a comatose patient, for example).
Unfortunately, that’s par for the course where HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 is concerned. No joke, no matter how potentially offensive it might be, is off limits. Not that moviegoers should expect R-rated comedies to shine the light of progressive values; they shouldn’t. R-rated comedies tend to go for the simplest common denominator and not much else. In an unnecessary, unwanted sequel like HORRIBLE BOSSES 2, however, it smacks of desperation (because it is). The frequent use of F-bombs, supposedly for comedic effect, say as much about the desperation that creeps into director and co-writer Sean Anders’ script. It doesn’t bode well for another sequel. Then again, it’s entirely up to audiences this weekend and next to determine whether, like the two films too long HANGOVER series, HORRIBLE BOSSES 3 makes to multiplexes in two or three years time.
2.5 out of 5
Read More »