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Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

July 8, 2011

Horrible Bosses – A Warner Bros. Pictures’ Release

Release Date: July 8th, 2011

Rated 14A for coarse language and sexual content

Running time: 97 minutes

Seth Gordon (dir.)

Michael Markowitz (story & screenplay)

John Francis Daley (screenplay)

Jonathan M. Goldstein (screenplay)

Christopher Lennertz (music)

Jason Bateman as Nick Hendricks

Charlie Day as Dale Arbus

Jason Sudeikis as Kurt Buckman

Kevin Spacey as Dave Harken

Jennifer Aniston as Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S.

Colin Farrell as Bobby Pellitt

Jamie Foxx as Dean ‘MF’ Jones

Julie Bowen as Rhonda Harken

©Warner Bros. Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

(L-r) CHARLIE DAY as Dale, JASON SUDEIKIS as Kurt and JASON BATEMAN as Nick in New Line Cinema’s comedy “HORRIBLE BOSSES,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Photo by John P. Johnson

Our reviews below:


Horrible Bosses Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

To start this review, I should note that I don’t mind when a comedy pushes the envelope for the sake of entertainment.  I should also mention that I often have no qualms with a dark premise.  But when a movie pushes the boundaries and generally fails at offering much in the way of solid laughs, than I have a big issue with it even being called a comedy.  Such is the case with Horrible Bosses, the new pitch-black “comedy” from director Seth Gordon.  I understand that my low rating might put me squarely in the critical minority, but I just didn’t get much entertainment value out of watching a bunch of morons plot murderous shenanigans.

The first few scenes of Horrible Bosses offer a nicely edited introduction to our six main characters.  First there’s Nick (Jason Bateman) who works overtime at an office job expecting to get a promotion, but ultimately spends his days being emotionally blackmailed by his psychopathic boss, Dave Harkin (Kevin Spacey).  Next we meet Dale (Charlie Day) who’s just gotten engaged to his girlfriend and works as a dental assistant, but just can’t shake the constant sexual harassment of the dentist he’s working with, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston).  Then there’s Kurt (Jason Sudeikas) who loves his job at a chemical plant, but ends up under the horrible management of a vile drug addict, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Ferrell).

One night, after a hard day at work and a few too many beers, they get the bright idea to murder their genuinely horrible bosses.  Enlisting the amusing help of one Dean “Motherf***er” Jones (Jamie Foxx) as their murder consultant, they put their plan to do away with their employers into full swing.  The problem is that the characters change from scene to scene, ranging from bumbling idiots to blubbering sociopaths, so plans do not always go accordingly.  If you find this premise funny, then you will likely get some enjoyment out of Horrible Bosses.  But if you aren’t already laughing your way to the theatre, then you will likely have a similar experience to the film that I did.

The three bosses and the actors who play them work well at being horrible, and the three leads all have an amiable chemistry amongst themselves.  In terms of casting, the film succeeds on pretty much every level.  But the very problem I have with it lies in the only sometimes clever screenplay.  This very fact which can’t be overlooked is that none of the characters are likeable.  Their minds are too twisted to be naive, with their actions ranging from disturbed to just plain idiotic.  On one level we’re supposed to be believe that these guys would be dumb enough to break into a house without gloves, but on the other hand are constantly left wondering why they haven’t already done away with their supervisors from hell.

At times I found myself wanting to enjoy some of what was happening on-screen, but felt disconnected from the characters.  Horrible Bosses is often too dumb to deserve all of the clever plot twists, ultimately delivering an uneven mix of scatological one upmanship as well as a twisted tale of characters that range from unlikeable to psychopathic.  There are a few flashes of entertainment here that hint at what could have been a better movie, but for my money I can’t rightfully recommend it on pretty much any level.


Horrible Bosses Review by Erin V.  

**1/2 (out of 4)

In Horrible Bosses, we follow three friends, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), who’s respective bosses Dave (Kevin Spacey), Julia (Jennifer Aniston), and Bobby (Colin Farrell) are all sadistic or in the case of Bobby, a complete idiot.  When the idea comes up that life would be so much better (not just for them but for the ‘greater good’) if these horrible bosses were dead, they start formulating a plan to execute…

The tone throughout is dark and more than a little mean, but I found it far better than other recent dark ‘comedies’ such as The Hangover: Part 2, and Due Date.  What Horrible Bosses has, is an interesting enough sequence of plot twists that I didn’t mind watching in the theatre.  Jaime Foxx does get some of the best lines (and twists to his character).  In fact, the characters are all well-played by the principal cast, although I couldn’t really call them likable.  This seems largely in part due to the fact that they all have a real mean streak to even get the idea to try to implement ‘killing their bosses.’  The bosses on the other hand really have to be as mean as they are to even let this plot fly as well as it does, although maybe a bit more naiveté on the part of our ‘heroes’ could have boded well.

I think the easiest thing to say about this film, it that although I personally found it entertaining at times, this is really going to be a like-it or hate-it film.  While it’s not one I’d go back to again and again, I didn’t mind viewing it once, and was never bored.  If the trailer itself appealed to you, by all means check this one out for yourself, but just know that you’re in for a dark ride at times – just think of the premise.


Horrible Bosses Review by Nicole

**1/4 (out of 4)

Many people have annoying bosses.  But what if you had a psychopathic boss who engaged in criminal activity?  Would you stoop down to their level in an effort “to ge them out of the picture?”  Horrible Bosses follows three friends, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikas).  They all have one thing in common, their bosses are sociopathic jerks.  Nick’s boss, Dave Harkin (Kevin Spacey) is a creep, Kurt’s boss Bobby (Colin Ferrell) is a playboy and cocaine addict who fires people who are heavy or in wheelchairs, and Dale’s boss Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) is a sex crazed dentist.

The three are so fed up with their bosses that they hire “MF” Jones (Jamie Foxx), an ex-con who can teach them how to murder their bosses without getting caught.  The trick is to kill off each other’s bosses, in order to confuse the cops.  The question is, will the three friends have it in them to actually commit murder?

Horrible Bosses is supposed to be a comedy.  However, I didn’t find this movie to be funny.  It focuses on some of the worst aspects of human behaviour, which doesn’t usually have a place in most comedies.  Personally, I found it frustrating that the protagonists didn’t just turn their criminal bosses over to the police, instead of turning to homicidal revenge.  However, Horrible Bosses is not horrible.  It has good acting and some rather clever twists.  Jamie Foxx is mildly amusing as their “murder consultant.”  But with such a dark premise, sociopathic characters and homophobic “jokes,” the film is only mildly worth seeing for some of the crime drama elements.


Horrible Bosses Review by Maureen

**1/4 (out of 4)

On one level Horrible Bosses is a somewhat entertaining, well acted and well written dark comedy.  On another level, it’s a dark and twisted story full of crude language, offensive remarks and disturbing content.  The whole premise of three seemingly normal men plotting to kill their psychotic bosses is more than a little disturbed.

Nick (Jason Bateman) wants to kill his bully boss, Dave Harkin (Kevin Spacey) after he is passed up for a promotion.  Dale (Charlie Day) is uncomfortable with his female boss, dentist Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) making sexual remarks and advances.  Kurt (Jason Sudeikas) can’t stand his coke-head, womanizing and mean boss, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Ferrell).

The three friends decide over drinks that they need to come up with a plan to get rid of their bosses for good.  The enlisting of an ex-convict, “MF” Jones (Jamie Foxx) to help them with the details of their plan is one of the high points in the movie.  Things do not go as planned since the three buddies are as bumbling as the Three Stooges and not as funny.

What saved Horrible Bosses for me were the clever plot twists and turns as well as the excellent acting.  While none of the characters are particularly likeable, the actors playing them are.  The good casting choices are what will make it a success at the box office.  Horrible Bosses isn’t a movie that I would pay to see again.  However, fans of the strong cast may want to check it out.  Easily offended adults might want to find another way to spend the price of a theatre ticket.


Horrible Bosses Review by Tony

** (out of 4)

Horrible Bosses is a dark comedy about three employees who conspire to get rid of their bosses. Nick (Jason Bateman) has worked like a slave for Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) hoping for a promotion that would never come. Dental assistant Dale (Charlie Day) is being sexually harassed by his boss Julia (Jennifer Aniston). After the owner (Donald Sutherland) of a family chemical business dies, his son Bobby (Colin Farrell) is running it into the ground to fund his decadent lifestyle, causing much pain to loyal employee Kurt (Jason Sudeikis). Nick, Dale and Kurt pay Dean “MF” Jones (Jamie Foxx) as a consultant in their scheme, which despite incredible ineptness lurches through a few interesting twists toward a favourable outcome.

Despite an excellent cast and lots of well-timed gags, Horrible Bosses has a disturbing tone that kept me from enjoying it fully. Even with psychopathic bosses as evil and foul-mouthed as these, the way the employees dealt with them hardly rang true, and they were just not likeable enough for me to care that much anyway. At least despite often very raunchy language there were no really gross scenes or nudity.


Consensus: Although Horrible Bosses is carried by a strong all-star cast and anchored with some clever plot twists, this dark comedy is filled with crude humour and some disturbing undertones, making it one that won’t be for everybody.  **1/4 (Out of 4)

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