Three friends constantly complain about their individual bosses, each of whom make their lives a living hell. One night, the three of them conspire to kill their bosses, assuming this will be a way to increase their quality of life. As the three friends try to do some recon in order to successfully pull of these murders, hi-jinx ensues.
First things first: this is an absolutely foul-mouthed comedy that is noisy, preposterous (not to mention completely improbable), racist, misogynistic, and more than a little homophobic. The problem is that the film is also frequently quite funny. How does it present such a paradox? For one thing, it doesn’t try to temper its coarse nature with any pretense of sweetness or light. For another, it doesn’t pretend that its vulgarity is an act of bravery. This is a raunchy movie, and it doesn’t attempt to be anything but. Its laughter is mean-spirited but also very upfront.
The fact that the three main characters set out to do something that is unequivocally wrong is somehow lightened by the fact that they are so completely incapable of performing the simplest of tasks. Their acts of desperation make the film work more than it should and stretch the story farther than most viewers would think possible. This desperation allows the film to flirt with more serious social issues, including the tanking economy (and job market) and social class stratification.
But the movie remains, at its core, a comedy bordering on the ridiculous. The sheer level of tastelessness of the movie will be off-putting to many viewers. Others will delight in how cheerfully it goes about the fantasy of revenge. At any rate, the real strength of the film lies in the cast: their timing is pitch-perfect. Everyone in the movie looks like they’re having a good time (but no one as much as Colin Farrell), and while the casting choices might not be risky (at this point, Kevin Spacey could phone it in as a douche on a power trip, and Jennifer Aniston as a sexy dentist is sort of…underwhelming), they’re well-chosen.
Recommended with serious reservations. Those looking to turn their brains off for a couple of hours are going to be better off than those who want any real substance in their entertainment. Viewers beware: it’s a total bro-fest.
Horrible Bosses is playing in wide release now.