Imagine one day not too far in the future, Charlie Rose sitting in his stark interview table across from the cast of Horrible Bosses. He glances down at his notes, reflects deeply, and finally utters, “This next review is merely a two word review. It simply states ‘Shit sandwich.’” We’d watch as the cast scrambles for excuses, trying to act assured of the film mumbling something about dark comedies, only to have Charlie Rose intervene and make them helplessly hang their heads and agree that it was indeed a shit sandwich. And someone’s been watching too much This is Spinal Tap.
Although seemingly happy and content, three pals (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis) have some serious problems with their work superiors. The supposed horrible bosses (Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey) range from coke-fueled asswipes to sexy dentists back to corporate dickheads. Somehow loyal and tied to their jobs yet unable to bear these horrible bosses, the boys plot to have them all killed. Right off the bat, sounds like a fascinating – and reasonable – story, right?
These guys scavenger the local dives one night to meet ex-con Motherf**ker Jones (Jamie Foxx). Mr. Jones, or Motherf**ker if you will, is pretty inadequate at murder, but gives them expensive advice, like briefcase expensive advice. The plan is for each guy to murder another guy’s boss, totally untraceable. Right? They set out to find “intel” at each bosses’ home and soon arrange to kill them. After all kinds of ridiculous bullshit, the usual car chases, blackmail, sex, arrests and gunshots, the bosses disappear one by one. But not because of the original plan. Apparently, the moral of the story here is that premeditated murder gets rid of your boss, brings contentment and happiness into your work life and definitely will not get you arrested. It’s about time old-fashioned values get pumped back into our culture via Hollywood.
The bosses and plotters-of-murder in this film are so undeveloped they make the dweebs from The Stoned Age seem like characters out of a Dostoyevsky novel. The bosses are not so horrible that they must be killed. And the three pals (whose names are forgettable, or at best interchangeable) have absolutely nothing to them. In order for this movie to work we need to empathize with them. But we can’t. Instead we just wait for that high-pitched muttering from Charlie Day, or some snide comment from one of the other dudes. They’re just some guys we know nothing about except that they hate their bosses.
When Jason Bateman’s character gets shoved aside for a promotion that his boss takes, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal since it’s never really established that he desperately wanted the promotion. It’s fallacies like this that deprive Horrible Bosses from being anything but horrible. That, and it’s just not funny. The bantering between the three main characters is aimless, unfunny and boring. Colin Ferrell provides the most laughs as some weirdo obsessed with Asian culture, but does not survive the half way mark. If this author were to recommend this movie it would be for the delight of Jennifer Aniston. Besides that, shit sandwich.
Runs 100 minutes. Rated R.