Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Horrible Bosses" Coins a New Term—

      It’s both a non sequitur and a euphemism.  It’s foul, hilarious, and doesn’t quite make sense and that might describe the movie.  The bosses are Kevin Spacey, doing his patented psycho creep thing very well, Jennifer Aniston, who returns to her medium-dark brown satirical roots as a manipulative nymphomaniac, and Colin Farrell as the coked up, sexed up, contemptuous twerp son of the owner who inherits the business and decides to gut it.  I didn’t see In Bruges, though after this I’d like to, but his range is pretty extraordinary when considering his earlier leads and the subtle performance he gave in Crazy Heart where he seemed to be playing a version of Brad Paisley very convincingly.

      The three buddies who decide to try the switcheroo murders so they’ll have alibis in the manner of Strangers On A Train or Throw Momma From The Train, since they’re not able to decide which one themselves, are Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day.  Bateman plays the straight man in this comic trio with great generosity.  It’s similar to what he did in Arrested Development, but the script isn’t as wild as the situations in that series or the long form gags that built on each other over a number of episodes. Sudeikis is wildly confident and never seems to be playing anything sincerely.  It’s like what Bill Murray did back in the ‘70s and ‘80s.  In fact, Sudeikis’s character has the potential to be a horrible boss himself.  It could be an idea for a sequel.  He’s a horn dog who admits that while hating his boss, he doesn’t really have any compelling economic concerns.  Day steals the movie probably because he gets the best situations – Aniston is a terrific comic foil as the dentist he assists while she violates male patients and sexually harasses him  – and plays the honest, desperate whiner with virtuosity.  

      We’re not certain why they’re friends or how long they’ve known each other.  Another character, who really is economically desperate and willing to prostitute himself on the cheap, implies they’ve known each other since high school, but Bateman and Day seem too far apart in age.  On some level, it doesn’t matter because it’s a plot convenience.  I wish the script had gone even darker and let the buddies flail around more after being suspected of murder.  There are some short cut contrivances that lead to the denouement, but they don’t take away from the laughs.

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