Horrible Bosses (2011)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Genuinely pretty funny.

As much as I love comedies, they are really hard to laugh at sometimes because jokes nowadays are almost never truly good. Most comedies really just have the audience chuckling here and there, but most of the jokes turn out dry. I did watch Horrible Bosses when it first came out, but for whatever reason I never reviewed it. Now that there’s a sequel in our midst, I decided to at least get around to reviewing where it all started.

Horrible Bosses is about three employees who really hate their respective bosses. One boss is just a flat out jerk, another is an immature crack-head, and the third one is a female boss that sexually harasses her employee, which apparently is the worst thing in the world. Each situation is making their jobs and personal lives worse, so they each plot to kill each other’s bosses. Things get a little complicated though when one of the bosses kills the other and the police immediately look at the employees.

I found this film even funnier the second viewing, which for so many comedies is a rarity. It’s actually got a similar plot to the classic comedy Office Space but with more ridiculousness. Did it really need three bosses and three employees? Not at all, but in doing so, it created a good sense of comedic chemistry between our leading actors. When you deal with comedy, sometimes it’s just a good idea to have the actors bounce jokes off each other – if they have good chemistry, you have winning comedic material…and it was kind of a jackpot here. Also, by splitting the film into three separate but similar storylines, it created a break in one really long and potentially boring story. Honestly, it just felt really balanced in terms of what it was ultimately going for.

This is more or less a senseless screwball comedy. It’s not completely random for no good reason – it’s got a good direction, but the entire plot when you think about it – is over-the-top. People may think about killing their bosses as a joke to one another, but the way these three reacted to the actual idea of murder would be considered pathologically psychotic in real life – and that’s when the viewer has to remember that it’s just a movie – and it’s not attempting to mimic life. It’s just aiming for laughs. There’s no real emotional scenes, so there’s not really a good balance between comedy and drama…which is potentially hurtful for many comedies…but not this one. It draws a lot of its strength purely on these guys comedic chemistry with one another.

Before I watched it a second time, I was confused and surprised at the very existence of the sequel. I haven’t seen it yet, but I had no idea as to why it was a thing in the first place. Sure, the first movie was really funny, but the story was done with…there was no need to further it. That’s when I realized that a sequel would be pretty good if the characters were in it. The audience really loves these guys, and we could watch them discuss fast food and politics for three hours and it would probably be a riot. That’s the main reason why I’m looking forward to actually seeing the sequel.

To be fair, there’s not a lot you can say about the movie past “it’s funny”, because it doesn’t really have too much else going for it. The plot was solid for what it’s worth, but there’s not actually any heart to the thing. I believe whole-heartedly that good comedic movies need more than a funny exterior…they need heart so you can care about the characters long after the movie ends. And that’s why I’m a little apprehensive about watching the sequel. When you don’t have heart, you just have more of the same comedy…which removes an actual reason to watch it…so we’ll see.

The Good:

What can I say? Horrible Bosses has some of the funniest and most memorable lines I’ve seen from a comedy in a long time. “THEY FOUND THE POOP BRUSH!”

The Bad:

There’s just no real heart or soul to the movie. The comedy is absolutely hilarious, but what good is that if there’s no glue for the rest of it? Especially for sequels – if you don’t have any real character development, the sequel will have no other choice than to just make some more of the same jokes – which is where many comedies fail – so we’ll see.

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