Horrible Bosses

Watching a scene that is identifiable to your own life can often increase your understanding and enjoyment of a particular film.* For instance, if you are a boxer who has a strong bond with your seven weird sisters and one certifiable brother and you hope to make a comeback and have an HBO documentary made about you, you would probably find The Fighter deeply engrossing. Or if you’ve been in a situation where you ate a fortune cookie or pissed in a fountain with someone and then switched bodies, there are any number of movies that thoughtfully address this situation. Or say you saved a lot of Jews from the Nazis and your name is Schindler – I know just the film for you!

So it follows that if you’ve ever fantasized about breaking the fingers of the hand that’s signing your paycheck, you’re probably going to enjoy Horrible Bosses. I’m a little late getting to this movie, which was released in early July, but all those 3D robots kept leaping off the screen and smacking me in the face, forcing my attention elsewhere.

The plot is Nine to Five times three, as a trio of friends commiserate with each other’s miserable work culture and come up with a plan to kill each other’s bosses. The first third of the film is all about establishing just how horrible the bosses are, and it almost sinks the film. Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrel are not only obnoxious and crude (and in the case of Aniston, badly acted) but worst of all, just not funny. I was almost to the point of bailing when the film focus shifted to the ineptitude of potential murderers Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day and suddenly became hilarious. The banter between the three goofballs is fast and filled with pop culture throwaways; one of the guys compares their murder plot to Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train only to have the other two confuse it with Throw Momma From the Train, two films that couldn’t be more different with the exception that Alfred Hitchcock and Danny DeVito share the same profile.

Sudekis and Day played nearly identical characters in last year’s Going the Distance, and as far as I’m concerned, they can just keep repeating themselves because they are terrific together. Throw Jason Bateman in there as the straight man and the movie is fast, funny and very entertaining, including some hilarious cat schtick that just never gets old. Jamie Foxx also has some great moments as a murder consultant who wants to be called “Motherfucker” Jones, although his first name is really Dean. I’m pretty sure most of the crowd under thirty didn’t get the Dean Jones joke, but I loved him in That Darn Cat.

Barf Bag rating: ZERO BAGS
Jalapeno rating: ZERO PEPPERS

*Perhaps I identified with this film because I once had a boss who would share her weekend sexual exploits with me and my co-workers, saying things like “Isn’t it great how really good butt sex completely cleans you out?”. I always assumed that was a rhetorical question, but maybe if I had answered I would still be working there.

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