UK Release Date: 28th November 2014
Runtime: 108 minutes
Director: Sean Anders
Writer: Sean Anders, John Morris
Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey
Synopsis: When their new business idea is stolen by a big shot entrepreneur, three friends decide to kidnap his son in order to win their livelihood back.
The first Horrible Bosses film was a surprise hit and also received relatively good notices from critics, despite being an only occasionally amusing trudge through its characters’ nastiness. With $200m in the bank, a sequel was an inevitability. Thankfully, Horrible Bosses 2 is a slight improvement on its rather depressing predecessor.
After having avoided murdering their bosses, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) attempt to start their own business making a shower product. They receive a huge order from businessman Burt Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and are thrilled, until he screws them over and steals their product. In order to win their business back, the trio decide to kidnap Burt’s son Rex (Chris Pine).
By replacing murder for kidnapping, Horrible Bosses 2 manages to rid itself of much of the nastiness that made the first film so awkward. There are far fewer clumsy grabs at dark humour in this sequel and the tone sits far more comfortably, especially given the way in which the kidnap plot goes awry in its early stages.
| "I hate to break it to you, but the American Dream is in China."
The beating heart of both Horrible Bosses films is the chemistry between its central trio. Charlie Day is once again the MVP of the three, evolving as an excellent physical comedian, but Jason Bateman is also solidly impressive at conveying jaded cynicism and incredulity. However, the very existence of Horrible Bosses 2 is justified by a terrifically evil Kevin Spacey cameo.
Unfortunately, Horrible Bosses 2 has failed to learn lessons regarding something its predecessor was heavily criticised for – reliance on rape humour. Far too often in the film, sexual assault is used as a punchline without any sort of justification. In particular, there are several very unpleasant references to rape against men, which has unfortunate topicality in the wake of recent news involving Shia LaBeouf.
The film as a whole suffers from its desperate attempts to be edgy, when it could just as easily sit back on the easy chemistry of its performers. There’s also a tendency for some of the supporting players to feel a little cartoonish, such as in the case of Jennifer Aniston’s returning sex addict dentist and Pine’s pampered business heir.
| "Holy shit! He Fight Clubbed himself. We have a Fight Clubber.”
It’s a shame in many ways that Horrible Bosses 2 is such an ill-disciplined film because there are the roots of a solid comedy film lurking within it. Unfortunately, it’s far more interesting at targeting cheap, borderline offensive comedy rather than using the chemistry of its performers to produce something more natural, funnier and a lot better.
Pop or Poop?
It’s an improvement on its predecessor and there are laughs to be had, but Horrible Bosses 2 is still a misfiring comedy that doesn’t do justice to its talented lead actors.
Some of the jokes are outright horrible and there are dozens of lazy grabs at edgy humour that just don’t feel necessary.
Even Kevin Spacey can’t quite save it.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.