Horrible Bosses Review

We’ve all had an experience or three in our working lives with a boss we really wish wasn’t managing us.

Off the top of my head, I can remember being fired by a manager on the first morning for answering my mobile, receiving a warning from another for looking at gay porn on my computer – apparently Christian Bale’s emaciated protagonist in The Machinist is a real turn on in the queer community – and was even told by one that I wasn’t going to make it in life.

Well I sure showed… ah.

Still, the scope for making a truly great and insightful comedy about our office superiors and their total ineptitude in these positions, not to mention predictable social inadequacy outside this environment, is ripe for hollywood screenwriters to pluck.

Which is why Horrible Bosses is so extraordinary.

It starts with the three most spineless, unfunny individual’s you could ever have the misfortune to meet. And guess what? They’re all friends and all have horrible bosses.

Naturally, these managers are portrayed as one dimensional, evil narcissists who only exist to make their minions lives miserable.

Yet instead of any of our three stomach churningly pathetic heroes growing a collective pair between them, by either standing up to their bosses or deciding to find a better life outside of their little office lives; they conspire to kill them instead.

And we are supposed to empathise with these cowardly would be murderers.

Of course, it’s just a lazy plot device for a series of interminable comic set pieces that are notable for their complete absence of comedy.

But I’ve brushed over our three comic leads. We have a fat, average looking non-descript man who would have trouble pulling in a brothel. So naturally, this is the Don Juan of our trio.

Even in his wildest dreams this guy wouldn’t believe this, so why are we supposed to?

Obviously, looks aren’t everything, and if this character was capable of anything approaching either wit or charm, I might well have bought into his Romeo persona.

He isn’t.

By the by, I could tell you the names of the three leads in Horrible Bosses; but seeing as the writers of this film couldn’t be bothered to put any effort into developing their script, I’ve decided to do likewise with my review of this toss.

Next up is a little man with a squeaky voice. That is all.

Finally, there’s the boring everyman guy. And we’re done. That’s the extent of character development that went into each of these characters.

Astonishingly, every other part in Horrible Bosses is played by an actor you will recognise from bigger and better things.

Kevin Spacey continues his bizarre quest to ruin a once glittering career with another hackneyed and clichéd portrayal of a horrible boss, adding another mediocre performance to his seemingly endless factory line of dross he’s collected this century.

Jennifer Aniston plays the least convincing sexual predator I’ve ever seen as a boss who wants to fuck her employee for no discernible reason. Apparently, the idea of watching everyone’s least favourite friend say “cock” is hilarious.

It isn’t.

At least this part gives the woman formerly known as Mrs Pitt a chance to show her body off on numerous occasions, which she must have been working on for months before filming.

If only the producers of Horrible Bosses had done the same thing with their script.

Finally, there’s my Irish eyebrow brother in arms Colin Farrell. Unlike the rest of the movie going world, I *heart* this boy. Admittedly, he’s been in his fair share of poor movies, yet our Colin has always been the best thing in them.

But even he can’t raise a laugh in this wretched film, as his coke snorting, comb-over loving boss falls as flat as everything else in this unholy mess.

Apart from these guys, there are cameos from Jamie Foxx, Ioan Gruffudd and even Donald Sutherland. I can only presume some pretty dark arts and filthy wads of cash must have been used to get all of this acting talent on board such a uniformly dreadful film.

In fact, the only actors you won’t recognise are the “stars” of Horrible Bosses, with the probable exception of Jason Bateman doing his usual straight man thing.

The other two leads are a couple of american comics I can only presume are big across the atlantic, which would be fine if either of them possessed even a modicum of acting talent or comic timing.

They don’t.

So as I was saying, Horrible Bosses is a truly extraordinary film; for coupling such a rich comic subject with a talented ensemble cast and translating this into the first laughter free comedy I’ve ever seen.

I guess film studio bosses can be grossly incompetent too.

Jonathan Campbell

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July 2011
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