As my buddy Christopher Lloyd from The Film Yap has noted, Horrible Bosses 2 is, somewhat surprisingly, pretty much devoid of actual horrible bosses. The first film, centered around three average joes named Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) trying to exact their not so unique brands of revenge upon their truly horrible bosses.
This time around, Nick, Kurt, and Dale (say it three times really fast to discover one of the film's earliest gags, have taken it upon themselves to start their own company to manufacture the Shower Buddy. Unfortunately for the guys, they fall into the con-artist, profit-making lair of a gleefully sneering millionaire and investor named Bert Hanson played to smarmy perfection by Oscar-winner Christopher Waltz. Rex, his son, played with sadistic joy by Chris Pine, equals his father greed and ups the ante quite a bit with ample doses of downright psychotic behavior. By the time our boys catch on, they've very nearly lost their own company and set out, you guessed it, to exact more revenge on Bert by kidnapping, or should I say kidnaping, his son for just enough ransom to save their company.
There's a problem, of course, and that's that Rex catches on to the plan and decides the boys haven't gone far enough.
I enjoyed Horrible Bosses a lot more than I expected, though for me the film at times dipped down into a little too much melodrama and not enough humor. This time around, director and co-writer Sean Anders takes a far more coarse and relentlessly raunchy approach to the goings on and constructs a film that unashamed in its lewdness, absolutely committed to its absurdity, and far more fun than the original film even if it does occasionally hit spots that land with a thud.
Some of the familiar faces are back. Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx) once again serves as the go-to expert on all things criminal, while Kevin Spacey is pure and evil from behind bars and, as one should expect from Spacey, it's an absolute delight to watch. Did you think that watching Aniston be naughty was a blast the first time? Well, wait until you see her here. As the sex-addicted dentist, Aniston's scene during a certain 12-step meeting is squirm-inducingly funny.
Horrible Bosses 2, as raunchy as it can get, is a far better film when it emphasizes the absurdity of it all. From ridiculous car chases to surprisingly inventive action set-ups, Horrible Bosses 2 knows that it's being absurd and celebrates it over and over again.
The ensemble cast clearly gets the vibe that Anders is going here, with Bateman pulling off his usual dry wit while both Day and Sudeikis take characters that were already rather sophomoric in the first film and dumb them down even further. Despite not being surprised by Aniston's antics this time around, Aniston ups the seductiveness of her behavior so high that you'll still find yourself giggling with schoolboy delight.
As the film's primary newcomers, both Waltz and Pine are spot-on here with Waltz exhibiting a finer comic sensibility than one might have expected and Pine riding a fine line between psychotic and silly to near perfection.
There's no question that Horrible Bosses 2 will disappoint some and likely offend even more, though those who appreciated the film more because of its cast than the actual storyline should for the most part go away happy. Far from flawless, Horrible Bosses 2 is simply a couple hours of escapist comedy for the dirty minded.
Yeah, I'm looking at you.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic