Middle Row, Centre: Improbably Entertaining

If you’ve ever wanted to take extreme measures against your employer, then Horrible Bosses might just be your cup of tea. Not that the exploits of the bumbling trio who star in this comedy would actually be of any help.

Jason Bateman, whose work in Juno and the TV series Arrested Development renders him the most recognizable of the film’s three stars, plays the erstwhile Nick Hendricks. He’s a nose-to-the-grindstone kind of guy who serves his corporate masters for years, with workdays that start at 6 am, and sometimes stretch out to weekends.

When his boss Dave Harken, played by Kevin Spacey, passes him over for a promotion he’s been coveting for years, it feels like the end of the line.

Similarly, after the sudden death of a beneficent boss (played in a brief cameo by Donald Sutherland) whose crackhead son takes over the company, Kurt Buckman, played by Jason Sudeikis, is ready to throw in the towel.

Lastly, there’s dental assistant Dale Arbus, played by Charlie Day, whose attractive nymphomaniacal boss Julia Harris, played by Jennifer Aniston, can’t keep her hands off him, despite his protestations that he’s engaged.

Over beers one night, the three friends collectively vent about their bosses from hell. Venting turns to wishful thinking, which turns to actual plotting.

Not wishing to arouse suspicion, they put together a hypothetical scenario, where each will be responsible for whacking the other’s boss. But ultimately, not having a clue among them as to how to translate their frustrations into action, they place an ad for a hitman, with hilarious results.

Matters escalate from there, as the trio attempt a bungling reconnaissance mission in which they break into boss Harken’s house. Their rendezvous with the person who they hope will do their dirty work for them turns into a series of misperceptions and racial stereotypes that play on their incompetence.

The intermesh of their personalities as they seek to accomplish their dastardly deed results in high farce that’s as entertaining as it is improbable.

Horrible Bosses works because of its totally over-the-top treatment of the three bosses.

There’s the coke freak whose total disregard for environmental good practices threatens to imperil the lives of thousands; the sadistic CEO who toys with his loyal employee for years, ultimately confronting him with “I own you!”; and the salacious dentist who seeks to entrap her assistant with photos of a seduction over the prostrate frame of his Novocain-unconscious fiancée.

For sheer profanity and vulgarity, Horrible Bosses follows hard on the heels of The Hangover, Bridesmaids and Bad Teacher. However, it bests them by not taking itself too seriously, by employing top-rate actors who work well together with ludicrously exaggerated portrayals, and better writers.

Jennifer Aniston combines smouldering sexuality with an unerring comic sense. Jason Bateman is the ultimate straight man, trying to keep his two compatriots – one a skirt-chaser and the other a spinney airhead – focused for the dubious task ahead of them.

Verging on improbability and extreme caricature, Horrible Bosses shouldn’t work, but it does.

Horrible Bosses plays at 7:00 and 9:00 pm at the Qwanlin Cinema Centre, and is rated 14-A for coarse and sexual language.

Brian Eaton is a cinema buff who reviews current films and writes on other film-related topics on a regular basis.

Brian Eaton is a cinema buff who reviews current films and writes on other film-related topics on a regular basis.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top