When a film makes over $200m from a budget of under $40m, the industry eyes another. And though the plot of 2011′s Horrible Bosses had run dry long before the swift 98-minute running time came to a close, here we are, on the eve of the release of a sequel.
To be honest, I quite liked the original. It had it’s faults, but there was humour, good chemistry between the three leads, and moments of snappy dialogue from writing team John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.
But on Horrible Bosses 2, it’s completely gone to pot. With director Seth Gordon unable to return, director/producer duo Sean Anders and John Morris stepped into the fore. Most recently working on calamities That’s My Boy and We’re The Millers, they also rewrote Daley and Goldstein’s early script before principal photography began late last year.
This time around Nick, Kurt and Dale are working for themselves. But it’s not long before they’re outfoxed by double-crossing investor, Burt Hanson (Waltz), leaving not only their business, but their livelihood, all at risk. The threesome are left with no option but to hatch another terrible plan, this time kidnapping Hanson’s son (Pine) in order to put up a ransom and take back their business. As you might expect, it doesn’t all go down quite as they had hoped.
In Horrible Bosses 2 there’s a feeling of deja vu. While the three leads are given a different silly plan to execute, there are the same high jinx, the same cameos playing the same joke, the same journey to redemption. I’m a big fan of Bateman, Sudeikis and Day, but they didn’t have much to go on here, falling into sensible one, fun one and stupid one cliches all too easily.
The original Horrible Bosses skirted the line with its humour. It wasn’t risqué in a clever way, instead it bordered on offensive but just about got away with it. Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t quite so lucky. After their last two crude efforts, Sean Anders and John Morris have managed to turn in something even more abhorrent with Horrible Bosses 2. The film is persistently misogynistic and degrading towards women, racist at times, and Jennifer Aniston’s character fantasying about two 14-year-old boys having sex is completely inappropriate. If the pair are trying to have a laugh with their carefree, “boys will be boys” attitude then this is the wrong way to show it. The jokes are dated and irresponsible, this sort of misogyny simply doesn’t have a place in cinema.
I did laugh a couple of times (literally twice) but that was overshadowed by the total distaste of the film. Horrible Bosses 2 is a wholly lazy and lacklustre production, of note for all the wrong reasons. Discrimination, ra cism and sexism should not be tolerated in cinema and its filmmakers should be called out for it, Horrible Bosses 2 is everything that is wrong with modern studios comedies.