Movie Review: ‘Horrible Bosses 2’ Few Laughs With Even More Yawns

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Cole Clay // Film Critic


HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 | 108 min. | Rated R | Director: Sean Anders | Stars: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey

Taking a comedy at face value can be a tough task, especially if it’s a sequel like HORRIBLE BOSSES 2. Sure, HORRIBLE BOSSES was funny enough in 2011. Even though it was a clear response to THE HANGOVER, we still laughed and then went on with our lives. And yeah, you probably watched a few scenes here and there on HBO, but ultimately this comedy was forgettable. On top of that, the emergence of Judd Apatow as the czar of comedy has raised the bar for the past decade. True, there is room for other heavy-hitters to make their mark, but coasting on the likeness of the three main characters Nick, (Jason Batman) Kurt, (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) just isn’t enough to cut it these days.

The three jamokes that were just mentioned have had their entrepreneurial gears turning when we catch up with them as they are pitching a shower caddy known they call the Shower Buddy (and understanding what the product does is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things). And oh, boy, do Nick, Kurt and Dale have an elaborate plan on deck after they are grifted out of their money by a Sharper Image type company led by father-son duo Bert (Christoph Waltz) and Rex (Chris Pine). After this point, hilarity ensues… somewhat. And that’s the truth – it’s a kind of funny movie. Yes, that’s an elementary way to put it, but that’s the face value aspect that was mentioned earlier. Anyway, they kidnap Rex in hopes to extort a cool half-million from his father, Bert.

Bateman firmly sticks to his modus operandi as the straight man while Sudeikis and Day are back to their old bumbling tricks. They desperately try to forge a special dynamic that is largely held back by Bateman’s inability to do anything other than react to absurd situations. Sudeikis and Day do all the heavy lifting here while Michael Bluth – I mean, Bateman sits back and says something remotely practical. Also, there aren’t any “Horrible Bosses” in the movie at all, so we are already off to a bad start.

Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Chris Pine star in Horrible Bosses 2.

Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Chris Pine star in Horrible Bosses 2.

Unfortunately, Waltz doesn’t even attempt to do anything challenging in this role as a ruthless mogul who wants to screw over a few peons. Who knows what the hell Chris Pine was doing as the poor little rich kid with daddy issues. Maybe he wanted to show off his comedic chops, and he can pull it off— just not here. Pine just acts hysterical and punches himself in the face a few times. And Jamie Foxx is back in action as Motherfu…., let’s just call him MF Jones. This go-around he gets more screen-time and the movie is better for it. Jennifer Aniston, of course, is back as the sex-addicted dentist. OK, we get the point. And that concludes the laundry list of famous faces that have extended cameos in the film. Oh, wait, Kevin Spacey is back.

Sean Anders is the director of the film and he is an appropriate choice given his work on SEX DRIVE and HOT TUB TIME MACHINE having some lasting power. Anders has an inherent ability to up the ante and have things skirt the line of black comedy. It would actually be interesting to see him write/direct an independent film on his own terms. Without Anders this unnecessary sequel would have been dead in the water. Also, somebody needs to be blamed for the failed attempt at meta-humor.

Don’t feel bad to let your guard down because there are some good set pieces and bits in the film. What would a comedy about a bunch of guys goofing around be without an end credits blooper reel obnoxiously showing “LOOK HOW MUCH FUN WE HAD MAKING THIS MOVIE!” In all, there are things to enjoy about this movie, but it’s nothing more than a lateral move by all parties involved.

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 opens tonight.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.