HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 (Sean Anders, 2014) – The Burford Review
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day
Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) are tired of answering to other people and just being “cogs in the system” and so decide to be their own bosses for once and launch their own product. However, needing investment they agree to be funded by billionaire businessman Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) who then subsequently double crosses them. To get their money back the trio, once again with the guidance of Dean ‘MF’ Jones (Jamie Foxx) decide to embark on yet another scheme, this time by kidnapping Hanson’s son Rex (Chris Pine) to get their money back.
As decent enough and occasionally funny as 2011’s Horrible Bosses was, I for one never expected a sequel, but here it is with even less of an actual solid plot than the first and put together with the random hope that the same formula that brought so much success at the box office in 2011 can repeat itself. Well, though it certainly contains more misses than it does hits and relies often too much on being crude for the sake of it (what seems to be the norm in mainstream comedies these days) or the characters just shouting randomly at each other, it is made with enough energy to be a just about passable comedy, even if a vast majority of these few laughs may be more at then with.
Bateman, Sudeikis and Day certainly share great chemistry with one another and though it is quite obvious they all had a great time making the film. This of course does not necessarily translate on the screen and the seemingly improvised shouting at one another and tendency to overact from Sudeikis and Day does not always work. Meanwhile, though his character is supposed be the straight guy, the usually charismatic Bateman does seem to be a little bored. The chemistry between the three does sometimes elevate the lacklustre material and narrative that feels like it was made up as they went along when filming, but never enough to make Horrible Bosses 2 anymore than watchable. I personally have no problem with crude humour and certainly have a lot of time for it when there is substance to go with it, but it seems that Horrible Bosses 2 feels that it has to be as crude as possible to act as a distraction for the lack of decent comic material, which actually just makes it worse.
When talking about crude this is most definitely where Jennifer Aniston comes in; she like the rest of the cast is certainly enjoying herself while making the film but the dialogue her character spouts out is quite embarrassing to watch at times, and never particularly funny. The new additions to the cast may be more big names to add to the poster but they fair even worse; Christoph Waltz looks painfully bored in his role and Chris Pine is horribly missed cast and his overacting verges on annoying. Comedy is extremely difficult to get right, and Horrible Bosses 2 is yet another example of a mainstream comedy in which the actors complacently think that overacting will immediately translate to funny on screen. Jamie Foxx fairs a little better; his character and the dialogue he has often providing most of the film’s genuine laughs.
As the slapdash plot bumbles along there are occasional amusing gags and a few enjoyable set pieces, but though not as horrendous or downright vile as some of the recent mainstream comedies, ultimately Horrible Bosses 2 cannot avoid falling down the same traps as those, which is a shame and a waste.
Despite the vast array of talent on display, Horrible Bosses 2 may have the occasional amusing moment, but the complacency, laziness and over reliance on being crude for the sake of it make for yet another forgettable mainstream comedy.