Friday, July 8, 2011

Movie with Abe: Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses
Directed by Seth Gordon
Released July 8, 2011

When an impressive cast with a number of notable actors and actresses is assembled for a film, it’s easy to think that things are too good to be true. Take the 2006 remake of “All the King’s Men,” for example, which starred Sean Penn, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, and James Gandolfini, and still managed to bomb terribly and contribute nothing positive to the cinematic landscape aside from its original score. In “Horrible Bosses,” the ensemble includes multiple actors who have won Golden Globes and Oscars, all coming together to do their part and make this highly entertaining and hilarious comedy work.

It’s rare to find an R-rated comedy where all of the characters are consistent and relevant to the plot. Often, there are loose ends and unconnected personalities that appear specifically to create humorous situations not germane to the main story. That’s not the case in “Horrible Bosses,” which features six main characters: three disgruntled employees and their unbearable supervisors. Each hellish boss has his or her own particular despicable traits, all involving direct harassment and evil manipulation. The awfulness of each situation is greatly amplified by the reactions from the respective employees.

The casting and characterization of the three protagonists are among the film’s greatest assets. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis all bring something different to the table. Bateman’s Nick Hendricks is a hopeless rule-follower, Day’s Dale Arbus is a loose cannon prone to high-pitched outbursts, and Sudeikis’ Kurt Buckman is an unserious philanderer easily led astray by the allure of any woman who flirts with him. They make a fun and hapless team, and their bosses are perfectly suited for them. Kevin Spacey’s Dave Harken is a highly motivated and power-hungry jerk, Jennifer Aniston’s Dr. Julia Harris is a completely devious sexual predator, and Colin Farrell’s Bobby Pellitt is a drug-addicted slacker unconcerned with anything but being rich. Even though they can be considered caricatures, they’re still believable as people.

“Horrible Bosses” impresses by stopping short of getting preposterous, and fortunately doesn’t include a ridiculous twist in the third act that often seems almost required in films like this. Never does this movie lose sight of its characters’ poorly conceived endgame, and all six personalities remain true to themselves throughout the entirety of the film, which is no small feat for an unhinged comedy such as this. Even the gross-out humor, which is wonderfully sparse, is well-incorporated. Most importantly, the film is laugh-out-loud funny for a good portion of its run time, and more than enjoyable enough for the rest. Its ending might come sooner than expected, but this is one film that knows to quit when it’s marvelously ahead.


No comments: