Review: Horrible Bosses 2
PLOT: When a wealthy businessman steals their product, Nick, Kurt and Dale once again come up with a wholly illegal way to get revenge.
REVIEW: The main problem with HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 is that it's undisciplined; I know that sounds like a silly complaint for a R-rated comedy, but there's a sense that no one - not the actors nor the director nor the editor - is willing to hold back its cast from doing their schtick, which is played out time and time again to frequently painfully long durations. It's clear the gang has fun riffing off each other, so when they go off on one of their babbling tangents there's no turning back. And, at 108 minutes, HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 has a lot of tangents.
On the flipside, I like all of these people, and so HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 comes just close enough to wearing out its welcome without really doing so. It just should be so much funnier than it is.
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day are back once again, this time putting their heads together for a product called the Shower Buddy that they hope will put them into a business of their own. When a rich businessman (Christoph Waltz) and his obnoxious son (Chris Pine) steal the product out from under them, they once again devise a scheme to get revenge, as well as their product back. Again asking advice from the very untrustworthy Motherf*cker Jones (Jamie Foxx), the guys plan to kidnap the son and ransom him to the father. Naturally, the plan falls to bits almost immediately, and since the father doesn't much care about the son, they have to figure out another way to gain leverage - if at all possible.
Everybody plays their assigned roles exactly the way they did the first time around: Bateman is once again the "smart" one who shoots down almost every dumb idea the other two hatch to little avail; Sudeikis is a crude jerk for whom no joke is too lowbrow, and Day is a high-strung moron who comes up with ridiculous notions without thinking them through. They're all spirited performers who are enjoyable to watch... up until a point. Director Sean Anders has a simple philosophy: point the camera at the three guys and let them go. And go and go; almost all of their conversations go on well past their expiration date; it becomes exhausting and repetitive.
HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 also assumes filthy humor is funny because it's filthy. I'm no prude; when it comes to comedy, nothing is off limits, but this film will trot out any old disgusting thing and expect us to laugh no questions asked. Conversations about young teenage boys having sex with one another, bathroom humor, casual racism; the works. It's not that it's offensive, it's just not clever in and of itself. Great comedy is all about timing and nuance, not just saying naughty words without substance. That's the very definition of juvenile.
And yet with a cast like this, the movie is still fairly hard to resist. Chris Pine steals his scenes as an incredibly irritating tool who actually wants to become friends with the guys when he figures out his father doesn't really care about him. He seems to be having more fun than anyone else, and his comedic timing is actually pretty impressive. I'm not so sure why Waltz was cast, as it's more or less a thankless role, but he too appears to be enjoying himself. Foxx is reliably great; Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston gamely reprise their roles as Bateman and Day's ex-bosses, respectively, and they don't phone it in for a second, even if their material isn't nearly as amusing as it was in the first film (Aniston in particular really lets her hair down with some of the film's most repulsive jokes.)
It's quite strange that it all doesn't come together more with such an impressive troupe, but I think it's because everyone is just having so much fun that they forgot the importance of an actual script; ad-libbing can be a wonderful thing, but it can only take you so far, and when it begins to feel like ad-libbing, it just becomes a chore to watch after a while.
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