Ensemble Cast Makes ‘Horrible Bosses’ Among the Year’s Funniest Films (5/5 stars)

Saturday, July 9, 2011
By Kevin Crossman

Horrible Bosses does an effective job creating a familiar premise and twisting it in ways that seem fresh, delivering a riotous ensemble comedy that is among the year’s funniest films.  Director Seth Gordon (Four Christmases) has delivered on-screen villains before in The King of Kong, and he does so again with three A-list actors appearing in supporting roles. But the true strength of the film is the on-screen chemistry by the three male leads, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudekis.

Charlie Day, Jason Sudekis, Jason Bateman in Horrible Bosses

Charlie Day, Jason Sudekis, Jason Bateman in Horrible Bosses

If you’ve seen the trailers, you know the premise. Three long-time friends are suffering under their horrible bosses, and for a variety of circumstances cannot quit their jobs. This is demonstrated in a short but effective scene where an out-of-work high school buddy runs into them at a bar and offers to give them hand-jobs for $50, despite the fact that he is a former financial analyst from Lehman Brothers.  The chemistry between the three stars works great, with Bateman playing the level-headed leader with a simmering slow burn, Day the wimpy husband-to-be, and Sudekis the horny ladies man. This is by far the best male ensemble since The Hangover.

As for the bosses, they say the most important part of directing is casting and in this respect Gordon is a master director. Spacey channels his Swimming with Sharks character as a manipulative, egotistical, manipulator with aplomb. A subplot involving his wife (Julie Bowen) who he thinks is cheating is well done as well. Colin Farrell hams it up as a money-grubbing coke-head who inherits the business from is recently dead father (Donald Sutherland), running Sudekis’ company into the ground. The character’s now-infamous comb-over is a bit broad and could maybe have even been dialed back and still made for a great character. Lastly, Jennifer Aniston plays against type as an aggressive dentist who finds creative and clever ways to sexually harass Day’s character, who is stuck in his job due to a prior “criminal” past. This “dark” role comes with a darker hair color but fans of Aniston’s comedic and physical talents will not be disappointed.

The film switches effectively between plotlines until the three decide they could solve all their problems by killing their bosses. In a hilarious turn of events, they meet with an ex-con played by Jamie Foxx. Foxx is great and there’s a hilarious scene where he tells the men about how he obtained his colorful nickname (I won’t spoil it here). Soon the men are breaking into the bosses houses to gather intelligence and things start to go horribly array. Several of these set-pieces are hilarious and memorable, and each of which is effectively bolstered by the subject matter afforded by the film’s R-rating.

Horrible Bosses One-Sheet

Horrible Bosses One-Sheet

The production values of Horrible Bosses are top-notch and each actor is given a spotlight to shine. Day is probably the breakout performance here, especially for people like me not familiar with his work on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He also gets to play against Aniston, who’s character is both sexy and fascinating, but also unredeemable. In addition to Gordon’s feature work, he’s also been busy in TV directing shows such as The Office and Parks and Recreation. This experience pays off well with the ensemble cast of Horrible Bosses.


5 Responses to “Ensemble Cast Makes ‘Horrible Bosses’ Among the Year’s Funniest Films (5/5 stars)”

  1. Chris

    Saw it tonight. Loved it. Go see it people!

  2. tom P


  3. Buffalo Billycan

    Dude, why aren’t you familiar with Always Sunny? Get on that!

  4. Chris

    Yeah Always Sunny is probably the funniest show on television in the past few years.


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