In ”Horrible Bosses”, the new film by director Seth Gordon (”The King of King: A Fistful of Quarters”), Kevin Spacey is a total. fucking. asshole. Spacey plays Dave Harken, a man who makes it his personal mission to ruin the lives of the employees under him.
One of those employees is Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), an executive who is passed over for a promotion when Harken promotes himself instead. After being screwed over for the last time, Nick and friends Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) conspire to murder their respective bosses.
Kurt’s boss, Bobby Pellitt, (Colin Farrell) is a cocaine-addicted, immoral chemical company manager who makes Kurt’s life a living Hell. Recently-engaged Dale is a dental hygienist who spends his work day being sexually harassed by boss Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston).
The trio enlists the help of “Motherfucker Jones” (Jamie Foxx), who brands himself as a murder consultant. Together they hatch a preposterous plan to make the deaths of their bosses look like complete accidents.
While Paul Feig’s ”Bridesmaids” set the comedy bar extremely high for 2011, ”Horrible Bosses” is easily the second-funniest movie you’ll see this year. Whereas ”The Hangover: Part II” felt like more of the same, Gordon’s film takes the best of ”Arrested Development”, ”It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and ”Saturday Night Live” and makes a film that feels like a spiritual successor to ”Office Space” and Hitchcock’s ”Strangers on a Train”.
Several actors including Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, and Philip Seymour Hoffman were approached for the role of Dave Harken, but Kevin Spacey proves he’s the man for the job. He’s a mean son of a bitch whose threats are legitimate.
Colin Farrell deserves more screen time as coked-up Bobby Pellitt. If you’ve seen ”In Bruges”, then you know Farrell has some serious comedy chops – and he shines in ”Horrible Bosses” as the insensitive douchebag with a flair for Asian culture (and cocaine).
Perhaps the most surprising is Jennifer Aniston, who sheds her girl next door persona and revels in the aggressive, raunchy Dr. Julia. Some of the biggest laughs in the movie are a result of her foul-mouthed conversations with Charlie Day’s Dale.
Bottom Line: One of the more successful bromance comedies as of late, Horrible Bosses benefits from the chemistry between Bateman, Day and Sudeikis as well as brilliant casting and a smart, quirky script.
Final Thoughts: I know what you’re saying, “How many comedies is Jason Bateman going to make this summer?” With ”Paul”, ”Horrible Bosses” and ”The Change-Up”, it’s looking like a great summer for the former ”Arrested Development” star. I can only hope his continued success leads to an ”Arrested Development” movie becoming a reality.
Oh, and be sure to look out for a cameo by Steve Wiebe, one of the stars of Gordon’s 2007 documentary, ”The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters”. While you’re at it, watch out for Isaiah Mustafa, otherwise known as The Old Spice Guy.