Horrible Bosses 2
Starring Charlie Day, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz and Jennifer Aniston
Directed by Sean Anders
From New Line Cinema
by Michael Clawson of Terminal Volume
“More of the same,” would normally count as a critical thing to say about a sequel, but with Horrible Bosses 2 it rings with a certain kind of charm.
I discovered the first one late in its run cycle, but was won over by its unscrupulous brand of irreverent humor, Jennifer Aniston playing a sex addict and the lovable cast of villains who tortured our stars. But mostly it was Charlie Day.
Day, so earnestly fascinating on TV’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, returns with co-stars Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis as the lovable dweebs who just can’t get away from horrible superiors. In the first one, they were forever under the thumb of others, and here in Horrible Bosses 2 they strike out on their own.
The trio have formed a company — Nick-Kurt-Dale, don’t say it out loud in public — to manufacture and sell a showerhead that has built-in shampoo and conditioner bottles. Because the shampoo bottle is so difficult to figure out apparently, but nevermind. They pitch the idea on a morning news show and get a lead with Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and his arrogant son, Rex (Chris Pine). Rex is a perennial douchebag in the strictest sense of the word. His father is a harmless goof who offers them a deal.
Do I need to tell you the deal goes south, because I know you saw it coming? Nick, Kurt and Dale go meet with MoFo Jones (Jamie Foxx) to get advice and he suggests a criminal endeavor, which they take back to the office to brainstorn. Note to would-be criminals: when diagramming your murder plot on a white board, make sure you have dry erase markers.
As things transpire, the three men find themselves in over their heads as the criminal plan descends into mayhem with Rex at the center. Horrible Bosses 2 makes a point to visit all the old bosses, including Kevin Spacey’s corporate executive, who’s now in prison, and Aniston’s dentist, who’s now in sex addiction therapy. The scene in the sex addict support group could have been funnier, but Aniston’s character just seemed creepy and sad. She does show up later with a one-liner that brings down the house.
The three main actors are the real draw here — their different brands of comedy bounce off each other in zany sequences of absurdity and stupidity. Day, so loveably dopey, is my favorite. When someone suggests he’s getting too close to the hostage, he replies, “Stockholm Syndrome … is that like jet lag?” Bateman is often the voice of reason, which is sharp contrast to his partners’ all-in attitudes. Sudeikis, my least favorite of the three, is the smug jerk … again.
The film’s biggest failure is that it plays everything too safe. The old cast is back, the jokes are the same, the sex dialogue is as graphic as ever, the bosses are lecherous little weasels … not much has really changed. But I imagine that’s going to be just fine for Horrible Bosses fans.