Romy Shiller

Horrible Bosses: Or, “Do what I say”

In Film, review on September 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm

“The key to success is taking sh*t.”

Nick (Horrible Bosses)

Director: Seth Gordon

Writers: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley

Stars: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston

I’ve had horrible bosses and heavenly ones. I could relate to the inherent disgruntledness [is that a word? If not, I will invent it now] of some employees. You know, this film is well done and it had the potential to be extremely schlocky. The script is very good and so is the acting. Rather than star-power detracting from the roles, you can see why these actors are stars. Colin Farrel and Jennifer Aniston are drowning in juicy gossip, yet here they are actors. Kevin Spacey is brilliant – as usual.Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, are superb.

Plot: Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.

Colin Farrel (Bobby Pellitt), Jennifer Aniston (Dr. Julia Harris) and Kevin Spacey (Dave Harken) are absolutely the worst bosses ever. “The bosses get the best roles: Kevin Spacey as a heartless tyrant, Jennifer Aniston deeply nasty as a foul-mouthed, sexually predatory dentist, and Colin Farrell, unrecognisable as a weaselly, boorish martial arts fan with a jaw-dropping comb-over.”

Farrel puts on an American accent, is apathetic about his dad’s company (which he inherits) and is drugged out. Aniston is determined to fulfill her own needs by sexually harassing her engaged employee (Charlie Day as Dale Arbus). This is nicely balanced by a character (Jason Sudeikis, as Kurt Buckman) who suggests that this is a straight-male dream. Spacey is sociopathic, manipulative and delusional. Jason Bateman (playing Nick Hendricks) is Spacey’s employee and is is way nicer than I’d be.

Jamie Foxx (as Dean ‘MF’ Jones) coaches them on how to kill their bosses. “Jamie Foxx has a terrific cameo as their inept “murder consultant”, whose name is…” His character goes by the first name ‘Motherf*cker.’ Calling him by this name is hysterical.

The theatre I was in was packed and this is not a new movie. Word-of-Mouth must be very, very good. Reviews are positive, for example, “A guilty pleasure for anyone who hates their boss, this is original, superbly performed and wickedly funny.”

I saw the comedy The Change-Up (A comedy in which a married father accidentally switches bodies with his best friend, leading to a series of wildly complex difficulties. ). To compare the two films would be like comparing apples and oranges or different species. The two films might share a genre but that’s all. The Change-Up is not a bad film but again – not comparable. Ed Gibbs of the Sydney Morning Herald says, “We may have seen this stuff before but it could have been so much worse.”

Horrible Bosses is unique in a genre full of clichés. I like that it sends up Crime/Heist/Gangster films, Thrillers, and Porno films just to mention a few.

I had enjoyed Jason Bateman in the TV series Arrested Development.  (Cool popular culture side-bar:  he’s the younger brother of Justine Bateman who played the role of Mallory Keaton on the television sitcom Family Ties from 1982 to 1989) He seems to be making a move to Film.  I also saw him in The Change-Up. He’s a good actor and I’m always pleased to see him. He usually plays a conservative, responsible type and he is typically ‘the voice of reason’ as he is in this film. He is definitely pigeon-holed. So, his character in this film is a variation on a familiar theme. I honestly feel that he has the chops to play against ‘type’ and I hope that he is given the chance. I’d like to see him as really evil, a super-villain or something.

I think that a lot is expected of Kevin Spacey and he rarely, if ever, disappoints. I expect him to get lost in his characters. They are like an envelope which he fills with pure talent. He is probably one of the best actors alive today. I love his acting choices. Anyhow, the fact that he chose to be in this movie said much to me.

Ok, Jennifer Aniston might be sexy here but she is also evil. In many films which comment on the objectification of women, the commentary does not link up with the action – here it does.

Colin Farrell is superb and unrecognizable. This sex-symbol is so ugly in many ways that his priority is character over looks. Bravo!

A review by James Gorman of Northside newspaper said, “This movie had me struggling to catch my breath between laughing. Even with the fear of reprisal from die-hard fans, I can honestly say it puts “The Hangover” franchise to shame.”  Yup.

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