I guess I’ll start with the good news. Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t horrible. At times it’s very funny thanks to some good chemistry between its three leads. However, the problem with this run-of-the-mill sequel is not that it doesn’t do anything inventive, but it doesn’t really have a reason for existing. The story catches us up with Nick, Dale, and Kurt, our protagonists (are they really?) from the 2011 hit Horrible Bosses. These guys defeated their bosses (spoilers, sorry) at the end of the last movie and now they have decided to make themselves their own boss. So they have an idea for some form of shower-head that makes shampooing easier and a company wants to buy it. Headed by the typically slick-tongued and skilled Christoph Waltz, this company has other plans for the invention that means ruining the lives of our heroes. My question is, if these guys want to be boss-less, why the frick would they allow Christoph Waltz to become their boss? I’ll tell you why. These screenwriters (Sean Anders and John Morris) let their characters thrive on their own stupidity.
Seriously, when will writers understand that it’s so hard to root for characters that make complete and total idiotic decisions? The only character that acts as if his brain is even halfway functional is Jason Bateman’s. All else is futile. In one scene, the three are trying to break into their boss’ home (Chris Pine, who plays Waltz’s son). When they find that they can’t enter, they (the dumb ones) propose stupid options that would never work. Bateman (the smart one) says, “While your hot, while don’t you ring the doorbell?” So they do. And then, after Bateman does the sane thing and hides behind something, anything, solid and large, the two don’t follow suit. Instead, they continue to ring the bell and make remarks about how the doorbell is tuned to one of their favorite songs. Give me a break.
The movie isn’t all bad though. Chris Pine is pretty crazy as Waltz’s son (kind of channeling his ballsy performance in Stretch), the three main stars are good (especially Charlie Day, whose high-pitched and sometimes crackling voice is something that I envy), and Christoph Waltz is good, as could be expected from an actor of his class. Also, Kevin Spacey returns in a couple small scenes and knocks it out of the park, as well as Jamie Foxx, who has a bigger role than he had in the first film. There are some scenes in the movie that really work, like one in the second act that has the main three guys breaking into Jennifer Aniston’s character’s dental office (those who’ve seen the first movie know all about her). That scene was great, until Aniston shows up and indulges in a sex-therapy session with like-minded individuals.
I have to say that laughed quite a bit during this movie (though I think the majority of the laughs came because of Charlie Day’s line delivery). That being said, it isn’t that good of a comedy when compared to the first one. The writing is pretty bad (but I do credit the story for being at least somewhat involving and not cringe-worthy), the direction feels flat, and even the actors, while having good chemistry together, can’t seem to find the laughs that they achieved with the first one. Most of the funny scenes, while somewhat funny, rip off other comedies (the shower silhouette hand-job scene in the opening owes a tremendous debt to the tent scene in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.) It made me laugh on occasion and I’m glad it didn’t completely suck, but there are much better comedies to see this year. If you like Jason Bateman, watch his directorial debut Bad Words. It’s much better.
Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Chris Pine, Christoph Watz, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey
Written by Sean Anders and John Morris
Directed by Sean Anders