Horrible Bosses not horrible enough

Can you guess which one is the boss?

In writing this review I’m going to bare a little of my soul. You, the reader, will get a rare glimpse behind the facade to see the real Tom. So hold on to your britches.

I had heard about a movie called Horrible Bosses and, as you might expect, I was a bit intrigued. You see, I’m a devotee of the “my boss is a flaming bag o’ douche” genre, so just the mere idea of this movie grabbed me right from the start.

As usual, I didn’t even know this movie existed until it had already completed its commercial run. I don’t exactly keep up on trendy current events. In fact, I thought it was “coming soon” when it was already “done and gone.” I’m savvy that way. I’ve always had trouble keeping up with the cool kids.

Once I realized which end was up, I did another rare thing. I went looking to find it. Nope, it was not to be had in the Netflix queue. (What else is new?) I couldn’t even find it available for rental on Amazon. As a last resort I set foot in a video store. (Shudder!) Nope, it wasn’t there, either.

Then the movie was released a couple of weeks ago and I finally got my chance.

As the moment of The Viewing drew near I felt very much like a pilgrim approaching the holiest of holy ground. This was very much sacred territory for me. Harboring ill will towards bosses is pretty much the closest thing I have to a religion. (By the way, I’m still looking for work. Employers, please drop me a line for a copy of my resume.)

I’d seen the trailer so I knew the general plot. Three employees with three bad bosses decide their only way out is to kill. Yeah, I know. That same old story. Yada yada yada. Still, I had to see it. It’s not just the story, it’s how it’s executed. (So to speak.)

The employees are the three main characters in the movie. Jason Bateman has an asshole boss (Kevin Spacey) but he’s still hoping for a promotion. Charlie Day is being sexually harassed by his boss (Jennifer Aniston) and worried this may ruin the relationship with his fiancee. And Jason Sudeikis actually cares about the company where he works suddenly owned by a snotty coke head (Colin Farrell) seeking to destroy it.

Bateman (a multi-talented actor best known for Arrested Development) is the star of this movie. As usual, he is awesome. He “chews the scenery” and is stellar in every frame where he is even remotely visible. He owns all of his screen time. He is the best thing about this movie. Can you tell I like him?

Day is pretty damn funny, too, although he seems a lot like his character, Charlie, in Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That’s okay, though. He probably has the most laugh-out-loud moments in the film.

Sudeikis (from Saturday Night Live) isn’t bad, but really can’t compare with his competition. He’s skit worthy.

The bosses are all played well if not a little over the top, as is everything in this movie. The star of the bosses, by far, is Aniston who kept shocking the hell out of me with her raunchy character. Her performance alone is worth the price of admission.

Jamie Foxx has a small part in this movie as a “murder consultant,” and, like you would expect from a chameleon master of playing almost any role, he is extremely fun to watch.

Like I said, this movie is over the top. Way over. There are some funny moments and a few chuckles, but the movie isn’t what I had hoped. It plays more like a Three Stooges movie. I was hoping for something a little more subtle that would really sink its teeth into the varying levels of pain and humiliation possible in the employer/employee relationship. This movie decidedly does not aim for that level of subtlety. It goes after the guffaws and such.

On the other hand, a movie I recently found by pure random chance called Visioneers makes an earnest effort at going after that sort of pain. That makes it one of the most endearing movies of all time. I loved most of Visioneers which had some pure classic scenes of employee torment. Sadly, despite my highest of hopes, Horrible Bosses is like a fart joke in comparison. It is not a movie where I can point and say, “Yeah, that’s exactly how my job feels! That’s what it’s like to be me!” So, therefore, I’m very disappointed.

I give Horrible Bosses a wry grin but that’s about it. It doesn’t capture the essence of toiling your way down the assembly line to Hell, so it left me wanting. Your torment may vary.

7 responses

  1. I, too, just watched Horrible Bosses and was horribly disappointed. Most of the actors have the chops to have taken this movie absolutely crashing through the “glass ceiling” but they took the stairs instead of the elevator and only had the wind for one floor.

    Blogdramedy gives this movie a half a dram…of whatever’s the cheapest whisky going.


    1. Agreed. I’m still dealing with the disappointment.

      So what are some other “work sucks” movies out there? Methinks me smells a blogging opportunity. 🙂


  2. I wanted to see this movie. I’ll wait until I can stream it on Netflix. I, too, love Jason Bateman. He is pretty much awesome in anything.
    The classic “work sucks” movie is Office Space.


    1. It goes without saying that “Office Space” is like a god to me. A good portrayal of a boss who is more dimwitted than deliberately mean.


  3. Thanks for noting this movie. I’ve just ordered it from the library. There are 590 holds on 39 copies, so a lot of people must empathize. Or else a lot of people don’t want to spend the money to see it, but are willing to wait to check it out for free. Free is usually my option.

    It seems as if movies have to be over the top to get made so the producers can grab a lot of money in the first week, rather than banking on people appreciating and paying for subtlety and nuance over time. It seems the really great movies are successful over the long haul by virtue of word of mouth. Two movie business models — short-term thinking versus long-term thinking. Short-term thinking is what makes so many bosses horrible!


    1. If you punch a clock or have ever punched a clock then I think there’s a damn good chance you’d see a movie like Horrible Bosses wanting to see a little payback for the other side. That’s fine. That’s healthy.

      It’s a comedy. I get that. I just think they missed out on really getting into the nitty gritty of the myriad ways bosses can suck by instead going for cheap laughs. It was mildly entertaining as a comedy but could have been so much more. But this movie never aimed very high.

      One thing I forgot to say in my review (mini-spoiler alert): It was painfully obvious very early into this film that none of the heroes was ever going to kill anyone. Once I came to that realization I was able to guess the so-called twist long before it happened. Yawn.


  4. […] Horrible Bosses not horrible enough […]


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