There is smart stupid and then there is just stupid for stupidity’s sake. An example of the latter would be Dumb and Dumber To, an uninspired regurgitation of characters and jokes that were once funny, but failed to remain so twenty years later. Horrible Bosses 2 (opening today), is just as stupid – although its R-rating does give it a bit more leeway for humor – but instead of feeling like a commercial re-hash, it builds on established characters and takes them on hilarious new adventures. Absurd? Absolutely. But also, laugh-out-loud funny throughout.
Back in the original Horrible Bosses, three dim-witted friends Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) were extremely unhappy at work for various reasons, stemming from their three, respective horrible bosses (Kevin Spacey as Nick’s a-hole superior, Jennifer Aniston as a harassing, sex-crazed cougar with eyes for Dale, and – spoiler alert – the now dead Colin Farrell as Kurt’s boss). In that film, they conspired together to kill off the three bosses, in the most comedic of ways. Of course, nothing went as planned.
Nothing goes to plan either in the sequel, to uproarious effect. Tired of working for such horrible people, Nick, Kurt and Dale have gone into business together, creating something called a “Shower Buddy.” They get mixed up with a shrewd businessman, Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and his snarky, over-privileged son Rex (Chris Pine), who try to take advantage of their new invention.
Feeling like murder is no longer their thing, they hatch a tremendously awful idea, to pull off a kidnapping. They suppose that this will get them out of the trouble they find themselves in, but of course, it only further engulfs them in chaotic foolishness.
The three comedians work great together, all bringing their own unique brands of comedy to the mix. They are three shades of ignorance blended together to create the perfect idiot: A holy trinity of lunacy. Bateman is always great as the “straight man,” the supposed “smart” one who is just as clueless as the others. Sudeikis and Day are so talented in their cadence and delivery, fueling much of the laughter. And you just suspect that much of their on-screen humor together had to be created on the spot.
Peppered in are a few familiar characters from the first film, like Aniston and Spacey, who are both used quite smartly. They steal their scenes and push the shock-limits of audience expectation. Then there is the great MotherF***er Jones (Jamie Foxx), a street thug that the friends usually turn to when they need some illegal advice. You may remember, this “gangster” had done some hard time, for pirating DVD copies of Snow Falls on Cedars. Here, he is given a bit more to do, but is a welcomed nuance.
I say it every time, but comedies ultimately should be judged on a very simple premise: Is it funny? Did it make me laugh? A solid yes, and yes. The humor is raunchy – and did I mention stupid? – but I found myself laughing throughout. When I wasn’t laughing, I found myself smiling. In a strange way, this film endeared me to Nick, Kurt and Dale in ways the first film didn’t. Unlike Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels’s Harry and Lloyd, through two films they haven’t yet overstayed their welcome.
Horrible Bosses 2 may not be classic comedy, but it is damn funny.
Run Time: 1 hour 48 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Jonathan Banks
Directed by Sean Anders (That’s My Boy, Sex Drive, Never Been Thawed)
Opens locally on Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014 (check for show times).
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How to read Tom Santilli’s “Star Ratings:”
- 5 Stars: Exceptional, must-see movie
- 4 Stars: Very good movie, not without flaws
- 3 Stars: The movie was just OK, leaves a lot to be desired
- 2 Stars: Pretty bad, a let-down, disappointing, but with some redeeming qualities
- 1 Star: Awful, sloppy, a total waste of time