Director Sean Anders’ Horrible Bosses 2 finds our hapless heroes again donning the coat of criminality, much worse for wear than the first time around.
What made the first film such a surprise hit was the the self-fulfilling, gratifying idea of an ordinary Joe taking out that asshole boss that we’ve all had. It was original, fun, and most importantly, funny. There was no expectation going into Horrible Bosses, which meant the sequel had a few hurdles to clear.
This time around, our trio, Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudekis) and Dale (Charlie Day) are on a mission to be the best bosses they can be by starting their own business. Everything goes awry when they meet horrible businessman/investor, Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and his son, Rex (Chris Pine) whose investment is a business promise too good to be true. Scrambling to save their business, the trio engineer a foolish and half-baked kidnapping scheme to set things right. Per usual, nothing goes as planned.
Unlike most comedy sequels that try to duplicate the magic by doing the same thing (I’m looking at you Hangover 2 & 3), Horrible Bosses 2 is at its best when not doing that. For the most part, they succeed.
The weakest parts are usually the rehashing of the old, i.e. Jennifer Aniston’s sex-obsessed dentist, Dr. Julia Harris or even Jamie Foxx’s Motherfucker Jones, who both get more screen time than the first time around.
While the dynamic between Nick and Julia is a new fun development, the bulk of Aniston’s presence feels unnecessary and arbitrary and only there to create sex appeal in a dick fest of a film.
Day and Sudekis seem to have been given the golden ticket to just riff and improvise to a degree that their characters’ neuroses becomes frustrating. For me, it felt like the first time I went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Nuart Theater. I was expecting to see the film, but witnessed a theater full of adolescent adults shouting nonsense throughout it instead. That’s what it felt like watching the two sidekicks. Just shut up already! Even Rex can’t handle it and channels what most audiences are probably feeling when he yells at them to chill the f*** out.
Sudekis’ Kurt seemed to be downgraded to dimwit status and Day brought on his man-child mantra from Sunny in full force with Dale. The duo only works in small portions. In excess, it becomes distracting and annoying.
Newcomers Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine are welcomed additions even if Waltz has very little to do. Pine, on the other hand, steals some of the best scenes and looks like he’s just having a blast doing it. Well, they all do.
Bateman walks away with the film with his wry humor and deadpan delivery that is now synonymous with with name. Grounding the film and delivering some of the best lines, Nick is the voice of reason in what is an absurd premise.
That’s the main problem of the film: its premise. We’ve seen it before and all the tropes that come along with it. It’s a heist movie without the heist. Even though you’ve seen it a hundred times before, some of the best parts come when planning and executing the plan. Aside from that, you know everything that’s going to happen from the main twist a quarter into the film to the final twist at the end of the film. This similar road is a fun ride that have its moments but ultimately leaves you in a banged-up car, eating Twizzlers, waiting for something more to come.
Unfortunately, it’s a never ending train of the same.
Rating: 6 out of 10 Twizzlers.
Marco Elorreaga is first and foremost a writer, a filmmaker, and lastly a man. He loves long walks on the beach and believes in love at first sight, mainly with cute puppy dogs.
Ever since he was a wee lil tyke, he was writing odd (and even) short stories, poetry, and screenplays. He ventured into journalism and film making during high school and continued until this day. His relationship with pop culture mirrors that of a junkie, he fiends for it every minute of every day and he hopes to get you addicted.