Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 48 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Strong Crude Sexual Content and Language throughout
Directed by: Sean Anders
Written by: Sean Anders & John Morris
Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Banks, Keegan-Michael Key & Kelly Stables
In Summer 2011, HORRIBLE BOSSES came out. I found it to be a hilarious film that blended workplace humor with dark comedy. It was almost like THROW MAMA FROM THE TRAIN and OFFICE SPACE got thrown in a blender. It’s over three years later and HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 has made its way into theaters over Thanksgiving weekend. After watching the sequel earlier today, I can safely say that the more I dwell on it, the less I like it. It isn’t bad, but it certainly doesn’t live up to anything close to the original film. It’s a typical sequel that suffers from failing to live up to a solid predecessor. HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 should be entertaining for fans of the first movie just to a lesser degree.
In the first film, Nick, Kurt and Dale tried to kill their three awful bosses. This led to one of those bosses actually dying, another winding up in prison and the last being forced to attend sex addiction meetings. Now, Nick, Kurt and Dale (the last of whom is married and has triplets) have started up their own business. Doing a deal with the rich and powerful Burt Hanson, it seems like life is going on the right track as the guys are now their own bosses. This changes after a sneaky falling out by Hanson and his snot-nosed punk son. The trio are left with possible foreclosure and destruction of their company….which results in them being forced to take desperate measures in order to stay afloat. As we’ve seen in the previous film though, these guys are horribly inept criminals which leads to wacky antics.
HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 tries to shake things up from changing the crime of choice from murder to kidnapping. It’s less daring in the crime and also less risky in its sense of humor. While the first film had a lot of dark laughs (since the whole movie was playing out like a funny version of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN), this sequel ups the stupid humor a few notches to an (at times) annoying level. It’s also written/directed by two people who had nothing to do with the first film and that became pretty apparent while watching it. In fact, Sean Anders and John Morris have been involved with two so-so sequels to acclaimed comedies in the space of a single month (they’re two of six screenwriters for DUMB AND DUMBER TO). HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 does contain some good laughs, but nearly overstays its welcome and betrays a couple of its leads.
Jason Bateman is serviceable enough as level-headed Nick (who was a bland character to begin with), but Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day have been regulated to total morons in this second outing. They were dumb in the first film (resulting in some of its biggest belly laughs), but they weren’t all out idiots. These two started as legit and likable characters, but they’ve now been turned into bumbling jerks whose sole purpose is to throw out punchlines. To make up for a woefully underused Christoph Waltz as the chief antagonist, Chris Pine is a welcome addition as the kidnap victim. Kevin Spacey returns for a nice cameo, but Jennifer Aniston and Jamie Foxx nearly steal the show. Aniston is hysterical as the (still) sex addicted Julia. However, Jamie Foxx is back as Motherfucker Jones and he’s given a whole lot more screen time to use in this sequel. Every scene featuring either of those two at least got a chuckle out of me.
HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 is alright when taken on its own merits, but a disappointment next to the stellar 2011 comedy. I was cracking up throughout all of the first movie, but only found myself really laughing during this sequel when certain characters were on-screen or in other select moments. Replacing the dark humor with stupid humor and dumbing down two of the best characters into punchline spewing idiots kills some of the energy. These were both bad decisions on the part of two people trying to latch on to the 2011 hit without grasping what really made it so successful to begin with. Given the poor consensus and small box office receipts for this sequel, I wouldn’t expect a HORRIBLE BOSSES 3 any time soon. If you want to laugh hysterically at a HORRIBLE BOSSES movie, then just stay home and watch the original again.