Horrible Bosses

Imagine a bad TV sitcom that lasts an hour and a half and which has raunchy language in it. That’s pretty much what Horrible Bosses is like.

Nick (Jason Bateman) has a sadistic boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), who likes to play mind games with people. Dale (Charlie Day) is a dental assistant whose boss, Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) is continually coming on to him and tries to blackmail him. Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) is a chemical company executive who gets along with his boss (Donald Sutherland). However, when the latter dies, the company is taken over by his obnoxious cokehead son, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell). Nick, Dale and Kurt like to get to together at a bar and commiserate with one another. They are so desperate that they decide to kill their bosses. They hire a “murder consultant”, Jones (Jamie Foxx), to help them.

I was hoping this film would be a satire on corporate life, but instead it’s a slapstick comedy and not a very good one. The main problem with this film is that the characters are so cartoonish that you simply don’t believe them. Of course, comedy inevitably involves a certain amount of exaggeration, but the characters have to be believable on some level. The only characters in this film who are at all believable are Harken and Jones. The rest one couldn’t care less about. I also had a problem with the way this film trivializes the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. (And would an executive at a chemical company hang around with a dental assistant? This is an example of Hollywood’s tone deafness when it comes to matters of class.)

One of the reasons I went to see this film is because Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars. Perhaps I should ask Ebert to reimburse me for the cost of my ticket.

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