US Release Date: 11-26-2014
Directed by: Sean Anders
- Jason Bateman, as
- Nick Hendricks
- Jason Sudeikis, as
- Kurt Buckman
- Charlie Day, as
- Dale Arbus
- Jennifer Aniston, as
- Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S.
- Kevin Spacey, as
- Dave Harken
- Jamie Foxx, as
- Dean "MF" Jones
- Chris Pine, as
- Rex Hanson
- Christoph Waltz, as
- Bert Hanson
- Jonathan Banks, as
- Detective Hatcher
- Lindsay Sloane, as
- Stacy Arbus
- Keegan-Michael Key, as
- Kelly Stables, as
- Jerry Lambert as
Jason Bateman, Chris Pine, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis in Horrible Bosses 2
In Horrible Bosses, Nick, Dale and Kurt represented that perpetually ignored group of the middle class working male. It not only made us laugh but it struck a chord with people who work for a living and feel that they get zero respect for it. The movie was never political exactly but it made a point.
In Horrible Bosses 2 we find Nick, Dale and Kurt trying to launch a business together. They invented “The Shower Buddy,” which is a much better name than “The Shower Daddy”, that Dale suggested. An investor orders 100,000 units and the boys take out a loan to start production. Out of pity, they hire a fat Mexican woman who is never shown speaking English. They hire a recently released from prison African American man, out of intimidation. Oh, and they also hire lots of unqualified hot girls. Nick, Dale and Kurt may have had horrible bosses but at least they got hired. Judging by their superficial hiring practices alone, they suck at leadership.
Things seem to be going well for the three friends but then this is all within the first fifteen minutes of the movie. The investor cancels his order, knowing it will destroy the company, allowing him to swoop in and buy their business out right very cheaply. The three friends find themselves in dire straits. Dale is now married with triplets and the men are reminded several times that they have employees that are depending on them. After determining that murder is so three years ago, they decide to kidnap the investor's adult son, played by a scene stealing Chris Pine, and hold him for ransom.
Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine play stereotypical greedy rich white business men. Neither seems to have a heart until the investor makes the ransom exchange difficult, allowing his son to see just what a heartless person his father truly is. One of my favorite parts of the film is when Kurt and Dale pity him and make friends with the suddenly emotional son. Pine plays all of his scenes big and in your face.
Some familiar faces from the first film show up. Jennifer Aniston is again given plenty of sexual lines to spout as brazenly as she can. Kevin Spacey makes the most of his few moments. He commands the screen like no one else in this movie. Jamie Foxx returns as Dean “Mother Fucker” Jones, the go to guy for criminal advice. Talk about an offensive stereotype.
Although the three leads continue to work well together, the laugh factor seemed a bit less this time around. Even worse is that I never really cared about them. Hell, I could not even relate to them. They seem no wiser from their past experiences and they continue to make some really bad decisions. Nick, Kurt and Dale deserve to fail.
Everyone could see themselves in these guys in the first film but here they are singularly dimensional. They retain their comic charm but are not all that likable. In his review for the first film, my brother Patrick referred to these guys as, “the horny guy, the average guy and the weird guy.” Unfortunately, that is all they remain here. We learn nothing more about them. Oh, but we do discover that Dean Jones likes cats.
Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses 2.
Part of the secret of the original Horrible Bosses's success was that it featured a scenario to which almost everyone could relate. As Eric said, we could all see some of ourselves in these guys. Most of us have had a boss at some point in our careers who we hated. And seeing this hapless trio try to get their revenge against theirs provided some real laughs. Such a simple premise doesn't, however, lend itself easily to a sequel unless you just want to repeat the same premise and give them new bosses to hate. Instead the story tries to set up a different situation, one to which very few people will be able to relate, and which makes the title meaningless unless the title now refers to the lead characters, who become pretty horrible bosses in their own right after they start their own business.
These three guys, while still providing laughs, have lost whatever small touch they ever had with reality. As Eric wrote, they deserve to fail and they're such idiots that their failure is inevitable whether the Hansons's screw them over or not. If it wasn't those guys it would just be someone else, or even more likely, their own idiocy would soon drive them out of business. The three of them aren't really characters at all, but caricatures. And with no hope of character development, the nearly 2 hour running time is inexcusable. It drags in places and the kidnapping plan, which is the main gist of the plot, doesn't even really get going until after the first hour.
It is the familiar faces from the first film who provide some of the comic highlights. Aniston's sex-crazed Julia, while not as shocking the second time around, is still one of the best things in this franchise. Like Eric, I enjoyed Kevin Spacey's reappearance. He has more personality and screen presence in his few scenes than Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine combined. And Jamie Foxx is also worth a few laughs as Motherfucker Jones, especially with his odd negotiating tactics.
Bateman, Sudekis, and Day do share a nice chemistry together. They banter well and a great deal of their conversations feel as though they were improvised. But with Kurt and Dale being such blatant idiots, it's hard to see why Nick would keep hanging around with them and even harder to see why he would think it would be a good idea to go into business with them. If the three of them played these characters in a series of short sketches on Saturday Night Live or online somewhere like Funny or Die, then they could be quite funny, but in a full-length feature it's hard to sustain the laughs without real characters and these guys just don't feel real anymore.
I really hope that this movie fails to make a profit. Not because I have anything against the cast. I'm actually a fan of all three lead actors, but they each deserve to be appearing in something better than this. And certainly audiences deserve to see them in something better. Perhaps they should just have made an entirely new movie with the same cast instead of trying to create a direct sequel that given the limited premise of the original had nowhere to go but down.
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Jamie Foxx in Horrible Bosses 2.
I didn't care all that much for the first Horrible Bosses and this one is much less funny. As my brothers wrote, at least the first movie had a setup that most of us could relate to. Three working stiffs seeking revenge on their asshole boss is a fantasy we've all had at one time or another. I didn't think the script lived up to its premise but at least it had a solid idea behind it. The same cannot be said of the sequel. It is emblematic of all that is wrong with Hollywood today. They keep serving reheated and dumbed down leftovers to audiences who seem all too willing to pay money to see it.
Horrible Bosses 2 is awash in stereotypes. Eric mentioned several of them, including the greedy rich white man played by Christoph Waltz and the criminal black man played by Jamie Foxx. The lazy script assumes that the mere presence of certain racist cliches will generate laughs. For example the fat Mexican woman chattering away in Spanish is supposed to be funny in and of itself, as is the angry, intimidating, ex-con, black man who applies for a job. And let's not forget the Asian maid who gets Chris Pine's shoes thrown in her face (although she gets the last laugh by using his toothbrush to scratch her asshole (a gag that wasn't funny in the first movie and is even less so here)).
To be fair I do agree that the three stars retain their comic chemistry together and Chris Pine comes close to being funny a few times. As Scott wrote, with a decent script they could certainly make a very funny movie with the same cast. But this most definitely isn't one. Please America, can we all agree to stop paying money to see recycled celluloid crap like Horrible Bosses 2?
Photos © Copyright New Line Cinema (2014)