Monday, 18 July 2011

Review: Horrible Bosses

Rating: 15
Runtime: 98 min

Horrible Bosses comes at a time where the comedy genre is in somewhat of a crisis. Naive to claim it's in free fall, but with only Bridesmaids springing to mind as this year's notable laughter fest- compared to other imitators that have come, gone or, in the case of the Adam Sandler car crash Jack And Jill, are on its way- one can even begin to question whether comedy is actually funny anymore. Worrying times, or is garbage such as Paul Blart: Mall Cop and cringe-awful Zookeeper merely a painfully ironic slap in the face from Hollywood? Do Adam Sandler or Kevin James really not realise they aren't funny? These are questions we all have, but as with some things in life, will never get a definitive answer.

Starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, they play three friends who have one thing in common: their bosses make their lives miserable. Whether it's Nick (Bateman) who suffers at the hands of smarmy, manipulator, Dave (Kevin Spacey), Kurt (Sudeikis), who succumbs to deeply unpleasant, Bobby (Colin Farrell), or Dale (Day) who lives in fear of aggressive sexual predator, Julia (Jennifer Aniston), they have suffered as much as they can take at the hands of their awful employers. While out drinking one night, they begin to talk. As the beer flows, the trio joke about offing the ones who are ruining their lives. Naturally, their flippant comments develop into a genuine decision to have their bosses assassinated. Having no idea where to start, the hapless three search for a 'cleaner' to deal with said problem. They encounter jailbird, 'Motherfucker Jones' (Jamie Foxx), who assists them in their bid for a better life (rest assured, the origins of Motherfucker's name is explained at one point).

Horrible Bosses is filthy, it has to be said. Even Jennifer Aniston, who isn't accustomed to such a boisterous and overtly sexual character, utters some truly explicit desires she has in regards to Dale. Aniston proves she can derive from her typecast career role and tackle something a little more daring. Julia is a sexual predator. She aggressively preys upon Dale, which makes for great viewing. This does a lot for her and makes her extremely watchable (which is a charm lacking from her previous films) and adds a sexy dynamic to her character. Similarly, love-him-or-hate-him bad boy, Colin Farrell, does a fine job as he epitomises the arrogant, coke head, jerk-of-a-boss, and Kevin Spacey shines on his own, with unquestionable merit.

The leads are likable as they counter the ruthless and, at times, psychotic nature of said employers. The story is basic, yet develops devilishly into something more sinister once the boys begin to plot the demise of their superiors. Laughs are aplenty and continue through the proceedings, which resonates a pleasant feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction, but ultimately Horrible Bosses is as throw-away as the countless other attempts within the genre.

Taking nothing away from the pleasure one gets during such comedies, it's instantly forgettable in a genre so saturated, it becomes hard to pick out the great from the good from the average. It's a shame, because Horrible Bosses is, for the most part, a very funny and solid film. It just doesn't distinguish itself as anything special.

The pacing is fine; as is the story structure- it begins as a typical 'my life sucks' comedy, but quickly delves into the sub genre of dark comedy. This serves its purpose well- the mood never becomes too real before a fart gag or (in the case of Aniston) a sexually provocative quip softens the tension- as the plot finds its feet once such plans are put into motion.

There's great chemistry between Bateman, Day and Sudeikis, which gives the film charm. The character integrate into the well written script as it ensure the gags don't run dry or even feel stale, which is a big accomplishment in itself.

Horrible Bosses is sharply written, well cast and hilariously crude at times. The plot doesn't come across as wholly believable, yet remains oddly grounded in reality. Notably the film concludes a little too neatly as it ties up loose ends too easily, but in a world where three dudes attempt to get rid of their bosses, it's somehow fitting in its nature. Whilst forgettable, it is nonetheless entertaining with a good level of humour and laughs. Horrible Bosses certainly isn't for the young 'uns, but as a throwaway, genuinely funny, adult comedy- it scores well in what it sets out to do.