Review in a Hurry: A gender-switched take on 9 to 5, Bosses follows three doofus dudes who conspire to kill their execrable supervisors and fail miserably. Though sporadically funny, this revenge comedy about emasculated males in the workplace is more talk when it should go balls-out insane.
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The Bigger Picture: We're still feeling the effect of The Hangover--not just in that beat-by-beat copycat sequel, but in the myriad recent, raunchy, R-rated comedies. Case in point: Horrible Bosses, which also features a buddy trio bumbling through an out-of-control situation. Unfortunately, the pic never takes full advantage of its demented characters and talented cast.
The leads remain vague types: The ambitious, level-headed one, Nick (Jason Bateman), gets screwed over by his slimy manager (Kevin Spacey, riffing on his Swimming With Sharks persona). The horndog, Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), discovers his company's cokehead owner (Colin Farrell) is hell-bent on destroying his career. And then there's scattered, passive Dale (Charlie Day, the screechy love child of Bobcat Goldthwait and Zach Galifianakis), who's sexually harassed by a man-eater dentist (Jennifer Aniston).
At the breaking point but unable to quit, the friends plot to off these monsters but have no luck hiring an assassin. Instead, they take advice from an ex-con (Jamie Foxx), who suggests they kill each other's boss to avoid being tied to the crime.
Lean and mean to this point, the movie gets flabby and loses its footing. As inept killers, the guys can fumble, but the humor can't. The script swings a big bat--hitting some jokes, missing others--when you really want it to slay with a darker, sharper sword.
The three men have a fun, easy chemistry and do rack up laughs with their increasingly neurotic ranting. Spacey, Farrell, and Aniston appear to have a blast playing evil, though only Spacey's role gets a worthy story. And unfortunately, the female characters, including Aniston's, are merely frat-boy fantasies of sexually aggressive nymphs.
If Bosses had worked harder, it could've been promoted from "not horrible" to "kick ass."
The 180--a Second Opinion: Why cast the wonderful Donald Sutherland and then give him only a handful of lines right before he croaks in an offscreen car crash? What a weird waste.