At some point in our professional careers, we've all been stuck with a boss that has made work severely unenjoyable. Wouldn't it be great if somebody could drag their jerky boss by the necktie, throw them out of a glass window and be revered as the office hero? Of course in reality we'd be confronted with a life sentence in prison. But if anyone ever had a boss as wicked as the ones in Seth Gordon's sharp new comedy, "Horrible Bosses," then murder would be justified.
Jason Bateman's Nick, Charlie Day's Dale and Jason Sudeikis' Kurt have the misfortune of working for the three worst employers imaginable. After a drunken night of complaining, they decide that their lives would be easier if their bosses were to go away forever. They hire a murder consultant played by a tattoo-covered Jamie Foxx. He advises them to take a page from Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train," or better yet Danny DeVito's "Throw Momma from the Train," and kill each other's bosses. The problem is that these guys are every bit as incompetent as the criminals you'd see in a Coen Brother's dark comedy.
Kevin Spacey is dead-on as Nick's boss, Dave Harken, a manipulative bully that makes Bill Lumbergh look like a saint. He treats his wife, played by Julie Bowen, and his employees like possessions. After promising Nick a big promotion, he decides to take the job himself, increasing his salary and the size of his office. Spacey does a perfect job at making his character completely unlikable and at the same time entertaining to watch. That's more than I can say about John Malkovich's boss in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," who is easily among the most annoying characters of the year.
Jennifer Aniston is much funnier here than in the lamebrain romantic comedies she typically limits herself to. She plays Dale's boss, a slutty dentist who is constantly making unwanted sexual advances toward her assistant. When she finds out that Dale is engaged, she tries to blackmail him into sleeping with her. Aniston has perfect comedic timing as a woman who might seem like the best boss ever to a horny single man, but get on her bad side and she'll become your worst nightmare. It just goes to show that it's always better to take a supporting performance in a good movie rather than being the lead in an awful one.
Finally there's Kurt's boss, Bobby Pellitt, a balding cokehead played by an unrecognizable Colin Farrell. Upon inspecting Bobby's house composed of a Foosball table and shag carpeting, the guys describe the pad as a "Douchebag Museum." Also good here is Ioan Gruffudd as a man who specializes in "Wetwork." I'll leave it to you to figure out what Wetwork is.
The screenplay by John Fracis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein is surprisingly well-crafted and leads up to a monumentally hilarious conclusion where all the plot points conveniently blend together. You might not buy everything that happens in "Horrible Bosses." But who cares? The movie is funny and that's all that really matters in a movie such as this.
Much of the film's success can he attributed from the winning chemistry between Bateman, Day and Sudeikis. "Horrible Bosses" might not make half of what "The Hangover: Part II" grossed. But I guarantee that audiences will have a better time at this buddy comedy than they did at that money vacuum.