HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 Movie Review – It Isn’t Horrible…Just Not Very Good
In 2011, Horrible Bosses, starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, became a surprise smash. It solidified Bateman’s status as a comedy heavyweight, made Sudeikis a viable movie star and Day, well, the world may not be ready for him to be more than the funniest part of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. What set Bosses apart from the crowd was its supporting cast. A sexpot Jennifer Aniston? Yes please. Colin Farrell bald and in a fat suit? Good lord, sign me up. Kevin Spacey reliving his Swimming with Sharks days? Here’s my wallet, take whatever you like.
Between 2011 and the present, which sees the release of Horrible Bosses 2, something went very wrong along the way. The manic inspiration of putting three average guys into a criminal situation, pushing them to the limits of decent behavior, has been replaced with lazy plotting and all kinds of cheats to make sure Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) remain good guys, despite breaking all sorts of laws.
So many comedic sequels are terrible. Few have surpassed the original (the only one that comes to mind is A Shot in the Dark). Horrible Bosses 2 had a chance to be good. It comes with an actual, new plot, a rarity with these movies (see: The Hangover Part II). Instead of Dale, Nick and Kurt trying to kill all new horrible bosses, they go for a kidnapping plot against the father-son duo of Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine that stole a business idea of theirs. It’s familiar enough to not be a Halloween: Season of the Witch type departure, but original enough the story could’ve felt fresh, if the film weren’t so lazy.
By their nature, sequels try to hit many of the same notes the original did in the hopes of “recapturing the magic.” Horrible Bosses 2 is no different, with Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey returning in larger roles, but they take it one step further, referencing a joke made in the gag reel of the original. Seriously, guys? Can’t come up with anything better?
A lot of the film’s fault lies with director Sean Anders, who helped write another lackluster comedy sequel currently out in theaters, Dumb and Dumber To. It should also come as no surprise that the director of That’s My Boy and Sex Drive has delivered yet another clunker of a comedy. Seth Gordon, director of the first Bosses, isn’t a great director (see: Identity Thief), but he’s still a huge step up from Anders.
Horrible Bosses 2 does have its moments. The banter between Bateman, Day and Sudeikis is still fantastic, with them still up to their antics, like playing Marry F–k Kill whenever they’re in the car. Aniston, as the sex-addicted dentist, is always fun. Even with his leading man looks, Pine seems happiest when he’s unhinged, as anyone who saw him in Joe Carnahan’s Stretch can attend. Unfortunately, the sequel falls flat, leaving behind a sense of “meh.”