The problem with ‘Horrible Bosses’ doesn’t lie in how funny it is – which in itself is unusual for a comedy – but in the premise. The idea is three normal guys who have despicable bosses plan to murder them. Obviously, this is completely and mind-bendingly ludicrous, because no normal people would ever seriously consider the idea and these guys are about as average as any other Joe. Nick (played by Jason Bateman) is some sort of stock broker hoping for a promotion, but is punished by his boss (an on form Kevin Spacey) for being two minutes late. Dale (a whiney Charlie Day) is a dental assistant being harassed by a nympho Jennifer Aniston (unusual casting but fun to see her out of her comfort zone). Kurt (Jason Sudeikis – a familiar face if not the name) had been in line to take over a company until his boss dies unexpectedly leaving his cokehead son (an almost unrecognisable Colin Farrel) in charge. Although these bosses are putrid human beings, in more ways than one, no normal person would kill them for what they do.
However, that little fact certainly doesn’t stop the laughs from coming. The best thing about the comedy in the film is that it has a wide variety to appeal to different audiences; it has some gross out comedy, some puns, some slapstick, some toilet humour and some “buddy” comedy. I laughed out loud a few times, I chuckled many more and I smiled and winced even more on top of that. Therefore, on that front, ‘Horrible bosses’ is a success. The three leads do a respectable job of pulling the film along. Bateman has something else about him though, that comic timing which surpasses both his comrade’s abilities to gurn and screech. All he needs is a witty line and he can pull it off with no problems.
Horrible bosses is also commendable for being a comedy which sticks to its guns, the Horrible Bosses are indeed horrible, and certainly not PC. Never once does it stray from being anything but a comedy (too often have I seen comedies attempt to stray into drama or romance and fail). If it is funny, then how can I say it is anything but a success?
Despite all of this, there is something in the mix that doesn’t quite click and it prevents the film from being the next ‘40 Year Old Virgin’ or ‘The Hangover’. The only thing I can blame, for this missing piece of the jigsaw, is the sheer preposterousness of it all which means you can never really submerge yourself in it. You may laugh, but you’ll be laughing at it, not with it.