Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) are good friends whose daily grind at work would be far more tolerable if they could get rid of their horrible bosses. Unfortunately, it's not possible for them to quit and one night over a few drinks, a wild plot is hatched. Why not hire a hit-man to get rid of their problems? After all, with a despicable executive (Kevin Spacey), a sexually depraved dentist (Jennifer Aniston) and a debauched coke-head (Colin Farrell), what better option is there? Fate steers them in the direction of Dean 'MF' Jones (Jamie Foxx), an ex-con who seems to know about these things. But the best laid plans....
Review by Louise Keller:
Made with the same kind of raucous, raw energy the first Hangover film delivered, Horrible Bosses dares to go for broke and is deliciously bold, over-the-top and vulgar. TV writer Michael Markowitz's concept of a difficult boss is one to which everyone can relate on some level and director Seth Gordon provides a safe pair of hands to guide the chaos. The film exudes a manic craziness that makes us feel as though we are on a journey without a seat belt and have no idea where we are going. There are flaws but we don't care as we happily jump on board for the ride - squirming, laughing and embracing the concept as the improbable, the irrational and the irresistible collide.
In the opening scenes we meet the three Bosses from Hell in the environments where they are king and queen. Nick Hendricks (Bateman) is a conscientious and hardworking executive, waiting patiently for the day when his despicable boss Dave Harken (Spacey) gives him his long promised promotion. But Dave is just toying with him, finding new ways every day to humiliate, threaten and blackmail him. For Dale Arus (Day), his job is simply a means to an end; all he really wants is to marry the girl he loves. But as dental assistant to the raunchy, nymphomaniac Dr Julia Harris (Aniston), he is in constant terror of being sexually harassed by his promiscuous boss. She talks dirty, sheds her clothes and delights in making inappropriate comments. For Kurt Buckman (Sudeikis), his vile new boss Bobby Pellitt (Farrell), who has taken over the company from his father (Donald Sutherland) is a drug-dealing ratbag who wants to trim the company fat by firing fat people.
Suffice to say that in each of these OTT situations, there is a final straw and as Nick, Dave and Dale unwind over a beer sharing their woes, a wild plot is hatched. Why not hire a hit-man to get rid of their problems for them? Their rationale suggests it is justifiable homicide; besides it might be immoral NOT to kill their horrible bosses. According to their inebriated logic, it is appropriate to let the hit-man to do their dirty work; after all they don't cut their own hair or clean their own apartments. That's where Jamie Foxx's Dean (MF) Jones comes into the picture. You can probably guess what his R-rated MF nickname is, and the scene in which they meet in a seedy bar frequented by car-jackers, is very funny. Also funny is the mad sequence involving a dislocated Indian male voice called Gregory who makes himself known through the car's GPS system.
Bateman, Day and Sudeikis each play their parts beautifully, but it is the bosses and the bit players that steal the show. Spacey plays despicable like an artform - whether it is forcing Nick to down a huge scotch early in the morning or displaying obsessive paranoia at work or in his home. You'll need to rub your eyes and take a second look at Farrell, who is almost unrecognizable as the seedy, tattooed low-life with the comb-over. As for Aniston, she somehow manages to keep her dignity intact, even while spitting out a diatribe of expletives in various states of undress. Foxx is terrific as the ex-con and nominated hit man with his own surprises.
There are some twisted ideas and dark surprises as dialogue speeds along and events escalate into the crass and the juvenile - all without a safety net. This is a bizarre, funny and outrageous comedy of errors; don't be surprised if there's already a sequel on the drawing board.
Published first in the Sun-Herald
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HORRIBLE BOSSES (MA15+)
CAST: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, P. J. Byrne, Steve Wiebe, Kevin Spacey, Lindsay Sloane, Michael Albala, Jennifer Aniston, Donald Sutherland, Colin Farrell, Ioan Gruffud, Bob Newhart, Seth Gordon
PRODUCER: Brett Rattner, Jay Stern
DIRECTOR: Seth Gordon
SCRIPT: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Hennings
EDITOR: Peter Teschner
MUSIC: Christopher Lennertz
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Shepherd Frankel
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 25, 2011