Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
I was not a huge fan of 2011’s Horrible Bosses, but I still love the concept. Honestly, who has not hated their boss at one or more of their jobs? Sure, the idea of murdering them may seem a bit extreme, but the BS that Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) all faced in their lackluster careers is universal and something almost anyone could identify with. Rather obviously, this is where the Film found the majority of its humour and heart.
Fast forward three years, and the Guys are in business for themselves at the start of Horrible Bosses 2. They pitch a product known as the Shower Buddy on a local morning show, and gain the interest of Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz), who runs a chain of successful retail stores with his Son, Rex (Chris Pine). Bert makes an extraordinary initial order, and the guys move quickly to secure the funds, supplies and employees required to put it together. They are successful, but Bert rescinds on the deal – leaving the guys in desperate need of cash to avoid bankruptcy and an uncertain future. And since they are not too great at murder, the guys decide to attempt kidnapping instead.
For better or worse, Horrible Bosses 2 feels like the first draft of a much better Film. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments scattered throughout the Film – including numerous callbacks to its Predecessor – and there are some genuinely emotional moments. But all too much of the Film feels literally paper-thin, as if the four credited writers sketched out ideas for a Sequel and then rushed their attempts to flesh them out. The Shower Buddy contraption the whole film hinges on is a glorified McGuffin, and unless we are to believe the Title refers to the Guys themselves this time, there are no real Horrible Bosses to speak of.
When they are not shifting in and out of character on a dime, the grouping of Bateman, Sudeikis and Day proves to be just as great here as it was in the original Film. They have an astounding chemistry together, and even at their most asinine, they still prove to be really fun to watch. Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx have a total blast returning to the ridiculousness of their roles as Dave Harken and Motherfucker Jones respectively, practically stealing the show as much as they possibly can. Pine tries a bit too hard to match the humour of everyone, but proves he’s a stronger dramatic Actor. At least he is afforded the time to try – Waltz’s role is nothing more than an extended cameo, criminally under-using the Oscar-Winner’s magnificent range and talents. And while I doubt I will tire of hearing the obnoxious, disgusting and hilarious things the Filmmakers coax out of Jennifer Aniston, she does not seem nearly as invested this time.
Horrible Bosses 2 is a funny movie, but it lacks the drive and ambition that propelled its Predecessor. The Leads are still just as great as they were before, and the supporting cast has a lot of fun acting ridiculous. With just a bit more work, this could have been something truly great.
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
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