Following on from the Judd Apatow, bawdy, gross-out humour style that has rapidly become so synonymous with adult comedies, Horrible Bosses, much like its title, is not hugely original or particularly imaginative. Despite this, Horrible Bosses is both largely entertaining and often genuinely funny.
Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) are all battling with the various problems their bosses present: a bullying corporate psycho (Kevin Spacey), a high-sexualised dentist (Jennifer Aniston) and a cocaine addicted, immoral industrial company owner (Colin Farrell), who has no qualms with illegally ridding industrial waste, regardless of its impact on the environment or people.
Coming to the conclusion that the best way out of their increasingly unbearable situations is to jointly pay for their bosses to be murdered, the three hire the supposedly hilariously named Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx) as a murder consultant.
High-concept aside, which clearly never really rings true or realistic, it is the interactions between the central three protagonists that elevate this film above the usual sub-standard fare. Bateman, Day and Sudeikis appear to be having real fun, not only with the script, but with one another: this sense of enjoyment wonderfully imbues their performance. Aniston, Spacey and Farrell too seem to relish the opportunity to play such hyperbolic characters, ensuring their characters are entirely ridiculous in their execution.
Horrible Bosses certainly has its faults: the high-concept narrative threatens to rapidly crumble as the film progresses. The film’s attitude towards women is especially questionable: Aniston plays an overly-sexualised figure, as a female she is portrayed as being a crazed nymphomaniac.
This over-sexed figure is generally present in such films and when portrayed by a male, is usually a source of comedy – think of Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis objectifying every woman they come into contact with in the sub-standard Hall Pass. In Horrible Bosses women are either a source of male sexual pleasure – Kurt (Sudeikis) states at one point that he has to ‘see that woman about her vagina’ – or, in the form of Aniston’s sexual dentist, a source of fear.
Criticisms aside, Horrible Bosses is fairly enjoyable for its duration, certainly not likely to be remembered for longer than its cinema run, but better than the usual fare.