Sunday, January 1, 2012

Horrible Bosses (2011)

Horrible Bosses (2011)
Rated R
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Colin Ferrell, Jennifer Anniston, Jamie Foxx
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Tagline: Ever wish your boss were dead?
Running time: 98 Minutes

Quick summary: Three friends devise a plan to eliminate their respective bosses, whom they each hate. After hiring a murder consultant, their plans quickly unravel as everything falls apart.

One of my most anticipated movies of 2011, and entirely because of the cast. I didn’t really need to know anything about the plot, but it certainly helps that it deals with dudes who hate their bosses. We’ve all been there before, so it’s easy to relate to, though most of us would probably never get to the point of murder, but that’s what movies are for, to do the dirty work so we don’t have to.

Since the cast was the main draw for me, I’ll start there. Ever since I saw my first episode of Arrested Development, I was a fan of Jason Bateman. I know he’d been around for a long time before that, but that was the role that really impressed me. From that point on, I was a fan. In Horrible Bosses, Bateman plays a character similar to every other character he has played, kind of whiny and neurotic, but very hard working. He does such a good job with it, that I could care less if he doesn’t branch out to different roles. He’s as funny as he ever is, and does a really good job in this. He’s joined by Saturday Night Live cast member Jason Sudeikis. While not my favorite current SNL’er (that’s Andy Samberg), Sudeikis is a pretty funny dude outside of the sketch comedy show. He was decently funny in Hall Pass, and has been funny in any of the TV shows I’ve seen him pop up on. He does a good job in this one as well, and is equal to Bateman in terms of funniness.

The breakout performance of the movie belongs to the third of the three main actors. Charlie Day has spent several years under the radar, quietly developing himself into one of the funniest people on TV on the fx show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (the funniest show on TV for the past seven years). I’ve loved him on Sunny for years, and was genuinely excited to see him bust out into the big time with a major movie role. He took the role and pretty much ran away with it. He was, by far, the funniest of the three main stars, and funnier than any of the supporting cast as well. His delivery and timing were on point, and I look forward to continued success for him in the future.

The supporting cast is an impressive one, featuring a combined 3 Oscars, 2 Emmy’s and 4 Golden Globes. Here they are in order of their performances. Kevin Spacey is excellent, as per his usual, as Bateman’s psychotic jerk of a boss. He’s a little over the top, but that’s what you need for a character like that, and he nailed it. Colin Ferrell, looking nothing like you’re used to, was a different kind of a jerk boss. The son of the beloved owner (Donald Sutherland) of Sudeikis’ character who takes over when his father dies, he’s a selfish jerk, and only wants to bleed the company dry so he can become wealthy and live a life of excess, fueling his cocaine habit. He was surprisingly funny, though he was a little under used in my opinion. He could have been so much more if given a little bit more screen time.

Jennifer Anniston, in a role completely opposite many of her most popular roles, is a sex-crazed and vulgar dentist. She has been sexually harassing and abusing her dental assistant (Day). While not bad, much of her performance was overshadowed by the sheer shock and ridiculousness of hearing Anniston say some pretty vile stuff. While a lesser actress might have been able to do more with the role, Anniston did a decent enough job. Jamie Foxx, as murder consultant Motherf’er Jones, was pretty funny, but like Ferrell, he could have done much more with the role if given the opportunity.

All in all, Horrible Bosses is a really funny movie. It’s right there with Bridesmaids as the best comedy I’ve seen from 2011. I’ve seen Bridesmaids now twice, and it held up (and was maybe even funnier the second time around), so I’ll have to watch Horrible Bosses again in a few months and see how it holds up.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Streets ahead of Avatar

Here’s the trailer: 

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