Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Clint Reviews Horrible Bosses!

"I am gonna bend her over and show her the 50 states"

  We live in an cinematic era of rehashes, re-imaginings, and remakes; original flicks that prove successful spawn numerous clones that try to re-catch lightning in a bottle by breaking down original successes into a formula that can be easily followed and fast to produce.

Yes, rehashing makes me a sad
panda too.
  In the comedy world, this cycle of clones is all about reproducing The Hangover , which already proved that it's own imitation can ironically go horribly wrong;  The Hangover Part 2's attempt at escalation proved to be a rote mockery of its own formulaic set-up. Yes, it can still bring the funny, but smart audiences and critics feel cheated when writers and studious make absolutely no attempt to bring something original to the table. Instead studios feel more content to throw out an easy rehash while they reap the profits.

 Thankfully, in the same summer has The Hangover delivered a lame clone of itself, there is another clone that I actually enjoyed in Horrible Bosses . First, lets take a gander at Horrible Bosses character descriptions (because all successful comedies must now follow the Hangover  rule of 3)

  1.   One character who is a cocksure, laid back ladies man with a "don't give a fuck" attitude. He "goes with the flow"  and doesn't sweat the small stuff, instead opting toward solving his and the group's problems.
  2.   One character who is reserved, type-A workaholic who is reticent to "rock the boat" and always opts to stay in his comfort zone. He is very much the straight-laced one of the group, and often the voice of reason when he is not being openly appalled at the situations he finds himself in.
  3.  One character whose ignorance is the combination of endearing naiveté and stupidity. He is often the focal point for the films physical comedy and the source of the most one-liners. Also, he has a beard.

Sound familiar? No it's not Phil, Stu, and Alan from The Hangover , silly - but Kurt, Nick, and Dale from Horrible Bosses!


See what I mean? Thankfully, the premise of the film somewhat delivers: three buddies hatch a scheme to kill each of the evil bosses that make their lives a private hell every day. But, as The Hangover  proved, the premise is little more than a framework for the three main characters to feed off each other while they stumble through a series of unfortunate events.

Andy Sudeikis of SNL fame plays the Phil-like Kurt, the laid back lady-killer who originally hatches the plan to kill the friends' bosses. I admit, his style of comedy and improvisation has grown on me - his delivery of one-liners just comes across as more natural, and thus funnier. Kurt's boss, played by a pretty over-the-top coked out Colin Farrell, resents him because his recently diseased father treated Kurt like the son he never had instead. Of the three main characters, Sudeikis and Farrell's screen time is relatively abbreviated, which is kind of a shame because Farrell kills it for the short amount of time he is on screen.


Jason Bateman fills the "Stu" role of the group as the downtrodden hard-working accountant, Nick, who gets nothing but shit on by his boss, played by an evil Kevin Spacey. I really do not care if Spacey is type cast anymore - the way he effortlessly reaches new levels of "asshole"  makes you day dream about his smug face eating a shiv; his performance in Bosses makes his Lex Luthor look like Ghandi - which is probably why Superman Returns  was so damn boring - no matter what you fanboys say. Jason Bateman has the white-collar "everyman" down to a science, and continues on being the "Michael Bluth" we all know and love (which only makes me yearn for an Arrested Development  film more).

Then there is Charlie Day as "Dale," or as he should be known: "Charlie" from Always Sunny.  I mean, that's exactly who this character is anyway. Dale is probably the marginally more intelligent of the two characters, but in reality his function and antics in the film are straight up Charlie from Sunny mixed with Zack Galifinakas' Alan from Hangover ;  but what's the problem with that? Day's Charlie is the best thing going for  Sunny, and it's no wonder that he was the first of the that cast to get a major motion picture. In Bosses ,  Day's "Dale" works as a Dental Assistant with a haunted past for sublimely sexy dentist  played by Jennifer Anniston (I don't think I ever remember her being as hot as she is in this film). The problem: Dale is freshly engaged but is the constant "victim" of Dr. Anniston's attempted rapes - much to the delight of his friends Kurt and Nick who belittle Dale for having the best "problem" in the world."

I need to eat more candy...

Once the plot gets going and plans are set in motion to murder their bosses, the shenanigans ensue.  Horrible Bosses  manages to stay relatively grounded compared to the absurdity of the Hangover  films, which I have to admit is kind of a relief.  Though like the plot is pretty easy to predict (with one shocking twist),  I enjoyed the fresh chemistry of Day, Sudeikis, and Bateman; their journey is an enjoyable one that kept a smile on my face and was raunchy without being downright vile like Hangover 2 .  It's no classic, but its worth a shot for a chuckle.


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