It’s safe to say that Horrible Bosses 2 was not met with best critical response of all time with some critics describing it as a lazy and unfunny sequel to a mediocre first film, however I am going to have to interject here and say that I think Horrible Bosses 2 is brilliant and better than the first one. There are not many films that have me crying with laughter but this one made the list, the first one did not.
The story is nonsense, much like the first film, where Kurt, Dale and Nick have decided to become their own bosses by inventing the ‘Shower Buddy’ which they attempt to sell to a rich millionaire who commissions them to make thousands of them to sell but then at the last minute cuts the deal in a bid to force them into giving him the products for a much lower price. They then feel they have no choice but to work in a kidnapping of the millionaire’s son and hold him at ransom for the money he promised them in the first place. Of course it all goes horribly wrong and they hit a plethora of bumps along the way but in true Hollywood style, they come out of it smiling. It’s a very standard narrative, easy to follow and in no way challenging or breaking traditional narrative conventions, but it’s not the story that makes this film so funny, it’s the cast.
Charlie Day. Charlie Day Charlie Day Charlie Day. The guy is hilarious. I don’t know if it’s his voice, his face or his mannerisms but the guy is just naturally funny. Putting him with Jason Sedekis and Jason Bateman is a fool proof comedy trio, as proved by the first film. The three guys work so well with each other and the chemistry is infallible and you can tell they are having a great time together. With that at the core of the film, it’s already got me sold. How about throwing in Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine? Yeah let’s do that. Christoph Waltz plays the evil millionaire Bert Hanson and Chris Pine plays his crazy, unhinged son Rex who decides to get in on the action and teams up with Nick, Kurt and Dale to double cross his double crossing father. Added to that is Jamie Fox, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Anniston all returning to the second film, each one being as brilliant as they were the first time.
The thing with Horrible Bosses 2 is that if you go into watching this film thinking that it’s going to be an intelligent, narrative driven comedy then you will come out of it feeling disappointed. This movie is riding on the back of its successful first prequel and relies heavily on the cast to carry the incredibly simple plot through to the end. That said, the cast are strong enough to pull this off and to maintain your attention for the duration. It’s a strangely long film but being in the company of Kurt, Nick and Dale doesn’t feel like a chore. They are like your silly, fun best friends who always get themselves into trouble but you sit and laugh about it later. A film like this is at risk of verging too much on the stupidity side and treating its audience like brainless idiots, but it manages to be funny without resorting to silly, childish jokes…apart from the hand-job and blow-job jokes at the beginning…cheap shot, but hilarious nevertheless. If Kevin James, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller had been cast instead of Bateman, Day and Sudekis, then we would have had a huge failure on our hands because the film depends on having some genuinely hilarious people in the main roles who have the ability to deliver the pretty poor script with an element of hilarity.
Some highlights of the film for me are when Nick, Kurt and Dale are practising their accents for making the call to Bert Hanson with the terms of their ransom and end up sounding like a cartoon cowboy and when they are sitting round the table devising their plan for kidnapping, which according to the whiteboard behind them consists of a zip wire and a trampoline. Chris Pine is surprisingly hilarious as the crazy, rich, reckless Rex who has nothing to lose but loves a rush of adrenaline so much he will beat himself up to make it look convincing that he has been kidnapped. The return of Jennifer Anniston in the role of the filthy, sex obsessed maniac Julia the Dentist is always good for a few laughs and its surprising she managed to get through some of her lines, equally welcome a return is Jamie Fox as Motherfucker Jones who stills seems to be about as incompetent a hit man as Nick, Kurt and Dale are kidnappers.
I leave you with the trailer. It debuts SATURDAY, JULY 11 at 8:00pm.