TBT – Horrible Bosses (2011)

I’ve made it to the end of the first week of my promotion and I’m fucking exhausted. Partly questioning my decision and definitely missing working only 4 out of 7 days a week. Also, facing the transition from being weekly paid to monthly paid (goodbye for now ASOS.com). I can’t complain about the job, I’ve basically been doing it for the past few months anyway, but I’m having some issues with one woman I’m working with. Unfortunately, she’s my superior and a massive bitch. On my second day in the job I faced one of her regular tirades and barely made it out alive. She’s a huge pain in the arse and I have to act like her biggest fucking fan just so I keep her happy. She’s one of the biggest dicks I’ve ever met: you might go so far as to say she’s a horrible boss! Ah ha, now this work-related tirade finally makes sense.

We’ve been here before, dear readers, with Identity Thief: I take the time to watch the delightful Jason Bateman in a supposedly fantastic comedy and then spend the rest of my days regretting the loss of my limited time. I’d heard someone I work with telling me how fucking funny Horrible Bosses was and felt that, despite every natural instinct warning me against it, I would give it a go. In hindsight, I should have worried as soon as the phrase “Colin Farrell is awesome” came up: remember, oxymorons can ruin lives people.
Although, on paper, Horrible Bossessounds like the easiest comedy ever-made: take three lovable comic actors, pair them with three Hollywood stars and place them in a mix between The Office and Strangers on a Train. Unfortunately, the end result is less impressive and just depressingly tedious. Horrible Bosses isn’t a stand-out comedy but a mediocre film whose side-effects may include the occasional titter.
The problem stems from its complete lack of self-awareness. It is neither as clever, outlandish nor as funny as it thinks it is. The bosses themselves leave some room for hilarity to ensue but it all feels a little clawing and desperate: a state I have often associated with Colin Farrell to be honest. Jamie Foxx’s eccentric ex-con had the potential to be fucking amazing but, again, everything falls a bit short.
The blame falls almost entirely on the shoulders of the writers who deliver a script that is willing to teeter in the entrance of cool and edgy but too timid to actually step inside. A premise like this deserved something clever, original and, most important of all, funny. The final film fails to make use of its impressive cast and lacks precision in both the narrative and script. The only actor to really shine here is Kevin Space and, lets be honest, that’s because there isn’t anything Kevin Spacey can’t work with.
No room has been given for proper development with either the employees or their bosses: meaning the overall premise that drives the film just doesn’t work properly. Three put-upon guys meet up to bitch about their awful bosses and decide their only option for professional contentment is murder. Talk about escalating quickly, for fucks sake! The basic driving force of the whole production is so fucking flimsy and silly that it would be impossible to make all of the strands work together into a cohesive story.
The film is obviously pandering to very current social and economic issues: people with very few options being forced into potentially humiliating, soul-destroying labour to earn a shitty wage in order to survive. It’s a feeling that a lot of people can understand but isn’t something that has been effectively set-up for humour. The bosses here are caricatures, yes, but they never reach the right side of funny. They take something that is horrificly realistic and just make it louder: louder never really equals comedy in my experience.
The script offers them something to work with but it’s not enough to make any of them truly memorable once the credits are over. There are a number of laughs here and there but they mainly come out of an atmosphere of discomfort. A lot has been made of Jennifer Aniston’s sex-crazed dentist because, obviously, it’s something of a fantasy for the type of lad that would rush to see this film. Aniston is a funny actor: something that was proved to me when I recently re-watched Friends. The desperate and unsettling depths that she is forced to sink in this film just makes me sad.

Horrible Bossesis in no way a smart and praise-worthy comedy. It’s just another in an increasingly long-list of hyperactive, laddish comedies. The writers and director obviously got a bit too excited with the unusually high rating and just went fucking crazy. It didn’t work. This is the kind of thing that a group of horny teenagers would make if they were given a Hollywood budget, their pick of actors and permission to say and do anything they want. Jason Bateman, I will always love you but I implore you to stop making shitty films. 

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