Friday, July 31, 2015

‘Horrible Bosses’: Leave the kids at home

0 comments
About the movie
Horrible Bosses
Genre:
Comedy
MPAA rating:
R
for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug material
Running time:
01:40
Release date:
2011
Rating:
Cast:
Jason Bateman; Charlie Day; Jamie Foxx; Jason Sudeikis; Donald Sutherland; Kevin Spacey; Colin Farrell; Jennifer Aniston; Julie Bowen
Directed by:
Seth Gordon

On the high heels of "Bad Teacher" comes a movie that could have been called "Bad Dentist."

Its actual name is "Horrible Bosses," and it features Jennifer Aniston in one of the title roles as a dentist who harasses her assistant (Charlie Day), even drugging and disrobing him for a series of provocative blackmail photos in which she herself is half-naked.

The extremely R-rated role also calls for Aniston to talk in crude terms about her anatomy, and to do other things that defy euphemistic description. Suffice it to say there are things that happen in the dentist's chair that expand the definition of oral sex.

Surely director Seth Gordon ("Four Christmases") was expecting little when he sent the script to Aniston, and was happily stunned when it came back a "yes."

But was this a totally good thing?

Aniston has always been a good sport (see also "Management," with Steve Zahn, or her coconut dance in "Just Go With It"), but her anything-for-a-laugh ethos doesn't help "Bosses" as much as you'd think.

Her outrageous scenes with Day rarely get past "I can't believe they talked Jennifer Aniston into this." It's the kind of stunt-casting problem that's a bit of a problem "Horrible Bosses" - Kevin Spacey turns up as a corporate tyrant who torments Jason Bateman, Colin Farrell a coke-snorting comb-over who inherits his dad's business and makes life hell for Jason Sudeikis.

The three employees, all friends, agree on a Hitchcockian plan - each will kill one of the other guy's bosses. They seek out a murder consultant (Jamie Foxx, who's funny in a tricky role), high jinks ensue.

You can feel that "Horrible Bosses" wants to go in the direction of black comedy. It's a bit like "Ruthless People" - bumbling sympathetic amateurs, unforeseen consequences. Bateman, Day and Sudeikis are ideally cast, and have the good timing of comedy pros.

It mostly works. But you also sense that "Bosses" - like so many modern studio comedies - was edited to preserve and highlight test-screening laughs at all costs. Other considerations - character, story, rhythm, flow, theme - are secondary.

The main characters have almost no biographical detail, and "Horrible Bosses" has almost nothing to say about the workplace issues heralded in the title, something that might have given it a foot in the real world.

On the other hand, what the real world needs right now are laughs, and "Bosses" generates its share of those.

Daily News Film Critic
0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter