HORRIBLE BOSSES Review - Melbourne AU Premiere

Three friends from different backgrounds and working lives plan to end, very literally, that which is hindering them; their respective bosses, who each possess demented persona's that they no longer tolerate.


Horrible Bosses is very funny, and the streams of humor that flow into the overarching storyline stemming from the warped values of the bosses and the conflicting values of the three protagonists each under their employ, come together to create comedy genius.


Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) informs us as the narrator that he slaves and sacrifices for his company, truly believing that he will get the 'big' promotion. His boss who is stylistically introduced with big bold profane text is Dave Harken, played by Kevin Spacy who is no stranger to A-hole bosses from his role in Swimming With Sharks. Dave strings Nick along before heartlessly denying him any form of advancement. Cut to narration with Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and their respective workplaces and employers who are also introduced stylishly, and it quickly becomes clear that all three men face distressing circumstances.


With a title such as Horrible Bosses, the employers in question must have extremely strong persona's, and they do. Psychotic, perverted and selfish just cracks the surface of these people. Dave is joined by Dale's sexually deranged and promiscuous boss Julia, Jennifer Aniston, who is out of control with her potty mouth, and Kurt's spoiled rotten man-child drug addled Bobby who is a barely recognizable Colin Farrell. They are indeed different types of jerks, each more extreme and hilarious as the next, surpassing caricature and becoming varying forms of psychosis in their own right. It seems each actor had a really fun time in these roles and it shows, with Spacey in particular as a stand-out example of a truly horrible boss.


Other than their personalities and presumed mental conditions, each persona is given critical analysis. Their dwellings are explored and each are as diverse and twisted as the next, although Julia's was only glimpsed at, perhaps because it was too obscene. Other elements of their horrible lives include their spouses, habits, inner thoughts and shocking actions which all build their character, or lack thereof, and each play off the down trodden protagonist that works under them brilliantly.


The protagonists also play off the bosses well with a mix of discomfort, disgust and spite. One standout scene has Nick lose it and throw Dave to his death, but is revealed to be an obvious daydreaming fantasy. Horrible Bosses could have benefited from more of what was happening internally to these men, and more scenes like this would have created an easier relation to the audience and their assumed ill nature toward their possible bosses as the promotions of the movie suggest.


The protagonists' strengths lie outside their interaction with their bosses however. Charlie Day as Dale has unquestionably perfect comedic timing, he works with new material as a man sexually harassed and dominated, but really shines in the trio, playing off the mixed responses from Bateman and Sudeikis hilariously and bringing with him some irresponsible, childish Charlie (from his role in Always Sunny in Philadelphia) mannerisms. Likewise Bateman plays the mostly straight guy keeping his friends in check (Arrested Development comes to mind) and Sudeikis tries to 'bang' everything around him, and executes this shamelessness better than he did with his role in Hallpass. They all bring their best to the table and prove team players with all the little understood hilarious niceties among them, in particular "you're buying dinner" which is said when one upsets the other, Kurt explaining slang and trying to upstage them with his 'brother knowledge' and Bateman as the wise man that seems to reprimand them both.


They bicker and stumble about in a plot like Hitchcock's referenced Strangers on a Train (the one with Danny De Vito in it according to Dale) but with more laughs as their murder plans explode in their face. Dale rides in the back of Nick's Prius and inanely jabbers on, later they lament in the bar together. Their camaraderie is subtle and works towards explaining their friendship. Another hilarious sticking point is when they compare bosses, "yours really don't sound that bad Dale" quips Kurt regarding the hot nymphomaniac dentist. Of course if the genders were reversed it would be a disturbingly different story.


In Horrible Bosses the three men traverse from workplace, to bars to their bosses' homes and not before long the movie is over. This tight pacing really works and does not bog down proceedings. Scenes are procedural for each character, the set-up and their respective thorn in their side bosses. The reason, conception, agreement, fruition and outcomes of their plan are simply shot and well-paced, becoming intentionally scattershot near the end to portray the side-splitting desperation they find themselves in.


Horrible Bosses has the wish fulfillment element which apparently puts the viewer in the shoes of someone seriously considering murdering their boss. It is presumed that a lot of people, have at one stage had dark thoughts concerning the fates of their employers, but the central theme of Horrible Bosses, other than the performances is the plan gone awry, a concept that will never die in comedy, and this along with its execution overshadows any thought that this movie is anything but hilarious and intelligent and more than simple escapism.


It was great to be at the Melbourne premiere and see the stars in person, even winging it they played off each others humor well and while introducing the movie made everyone laugh. It seems, Charlie day in particular just needs to stand around to be funny.

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