MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★
When I saw Jennifer Aniston’s name on the poster of Horrible Bosses I was rather less than enthusiastic. Thankfully Aniston only plays a bit part role in this ridiculous Hangover-esque dark comedy. It’s over the top, stupidly implausible but also pretty good fun.
Horrible Bosses stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as three employees all struggling to cope with their unbearably awful bosses. The film is nicely set up, introducing each employee and boss and their particular quirks. Quickly we find out each of our hapless employees are good friends who deduce that the most efficient, practical and ethical solution is to have each of their bosses murdered. As silly as this sounds, the set up and characters are written so clearly that it’s easy to get absorbed in their predicament.
Supporting roles from bosses Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell offer a nice, diverse cast who each play their roles as horrible bosses with outlandish fun. It’s nice to see each of these actors playing slightly out of their ‘type’ and this freedom gives them the ability to shine. Predictably the film can feel a little baggy towards the middle, but it succeeds in making the three leads likeable people, despite engaging in such terrible activities. One of the most excellent performance comes from Jamie Foxx as the murder ‘adviser’ whose funny and mysterious character steals each of his scenes.
Horrible Bosses still feels too clean cut to reach the gloriously dark comedic heights of something like 2008’s In Bruges. This is frustrating because without what appears to be studio pressure they could have found more ambitious comedy in making the situations far more sinister. But despite its reliance on absurdity and frequent crudeness it still feels like a more likable Hangover. Not really any big belly laughs, but it kept me smirking and engaged all the way through.
Horrible Bosses is released on 22 July in the UK and is out now in the USA. Certificate 15 (UK).
Review by David Rank