Review: Horrible Bosses

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

PLOT: Three buddies (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day) plot to murder their horrible bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston).

REVIEW: Judging from the reactions the red-band trailer for this has been getting all over the web, it’s obvious that HORRIBLE BOSSES is one of the most highly anticipated R-rated comedies to come out in a while. Obviously, Warner Bros., by casting a trio solid comedic actors, each of whom seem inches away from hitting superstardom, is hoping that HORRIBLE BOSSES will be another HANGOVER.

But is it?

Not quite, but HORRIBLE BOSSES is still a very funny, entertaining flick, if a bit more uneven than you’d think judging by the trailers. The premise is dynamite, and the three leads are perfectly cast, as are their respective bosses. Jason Bateman plays the everyman (ya know- the Ed Helms-role), who’s lorded over by psychotic Kevin Spacey, who manages to make the other horrible boss he played, Buddy from SWIMMING WITH SHARKS, look almost saintly by comparison. Spacey’s always had a knack for dark comedy, and he steals every scene he’s in- and it’s no surprise than when the premise is twisted in the last third, he’s the boss the whole plot ends up revolving around.

Meanwhile, we get Jason Sudeikis as the cool ladies’ man (the Bradley Cooper role), with Colin Farrell playing his coke-head, comb-over wearing boss. Farrell does a nice job sending up the douchebaggy, wildman persona that he was saddled with eight-or-nine years ago (although I’d wager his work has since elevated him), but- compared to the other bosses his screen time seems limited. Oddly, his funniest scene is an outtake that shows up in the end credits. Sudeikis is maybe a bit much to harder to swallow as the “cool guy” than Cooper was, but nonetheless he’s fine here (with this being a much better vehicle for his talents than HALL PASS).

As good as Sudeikis and Bateman are, I think the guy that’s going to really break out if HORRIBLE BOSSES does big business is Charlie Day, who plays the Zach Galifianakis role. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true, as Day’s character, a dental assistant sexually harassed by his boss Jennifer Aniston (doesn’t sound too bad, right?) is more down to earth than Galifianakis. He’s actually a pretty together guy- complete with a pretty fiancée (Lindsay Sloane), but of course, once the shit hits the fan, he’s the crazy guy. Day, who owns on the great IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA is phenomenal, and watching him get coked up with Jason Bateman, or explain how he ended up on the sex registry (a great bit) is a treat. Granted, he pretty much plays the same guy he plays on PHILADELPHIA, but whatever. It’s a comic persona, and judging from the audience’s reaction every time this guy showed up on screen, it works.

As for Ms. Aniston, she’s actually not half-bad as Day’s sex-crazed boss, although, again, I think a lot of us guys who grew up watching her on FRIENDS wouldn’t mind being sexually harassed by her. Also, Aniston looks sexy with dark hair, and a scene where she cavorts around in black lingerie proves that if anything, Aniston is even hotter now that she was on FRIENDS ten years ago. Jamie Foxx also has a nice cameo as a tough guy sporting the awesome name, “Motherfucker” Jones, who helps the guys plot their bosses’ demise.

Considering the top-notch cast, and the clever screenplay by FREAKS & GEEKS alum John Francis Daley (along with Michael Markowitz and Jonathan M. Goldstein), it’s too bad that HORRIBLE BOSSES one flaw is the uneven pacing. Considering that it only runs 100 minutes, the film has more slow gaps than it should. Also, while the premise might suggest that this gets into darker territory, it really doesn’t with director Seth Gordon (who’s KING OF KONG needs to be immediately Netflix’d if you haven’t seen it) chickening out a bit towards the end. Then again, black comedy is notoriously tough to pull off, so maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

While it’s not a perfect comedy, and more than a little uneven, I still laughed my ass off through most of the film, and probably had more honest laughs here than I did with THE HANGOVER 2. I should also mention that the preview audience applauded the film once the end credits rolled- and I haven’t seen that happen at an advance screening for quite a while. If they’re reaction is any indicator, we may be getting an “EVEN MORE HORRIBLE BOSSES” sometime soon.

Review: Horrible Bosses




About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.