Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses

***1/2

 

Without much hype and without A-list star power, “Horrible Bosses” is a

hit.

Moviegoers are drawn in by the simple, intriguing premise: three average working men decide to kill their bosses. To some extent, we can all relate. Everyone has had a bad boss at some point or another.

“Horrible Bosses” is not a realistic “Office Space”-esque satire, however. You’ve had some sub-par managers, but none who are THIS bad:

Dale (Charlie Day) has a boss (Jennifer Aniston) who won’t stop hitting on him at work. She makes it clear that she will continue to make her sexual advances creepier and more menacing until Dale gives in and cheats on his fiancé.

Nick (Jason Bateman) has a boss (Kevin Spacey) who promised him a promotion but instead found a way to blackmail him into slaving as his underling forever.

Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) HAD a good boss, but he died suddenly left the business to his awful son (Colin Farrell).

On his first day in charge, Colin Farrell’s character calls Kurt into his office and announces that his first order of business is to “trim the fat.” “What does that even mean?” Kurt asks. “It means you go and fire all of the fat people in the company.”

On one hand, the bosses are cartoonishly ridiculous. They aren’t bad managers; they are diabolical lunatics.

We can’t really be expected to believe that a woman who looks like Jennifer Aniston is going to concoct an elaborate scheme to entrap a guy into having sex with her. Particularly a guy who is 10 years younger than her, six inches shorter, and makes less money.

On the other hand, the bosses are so irredeemable that it helps the audience completely side with Nick, Kurt, and Dale. We want those bosses dead, too, and we want the guys to get away with it.

Unlike most comedies, “Horrible Bosses” gets more inventive and more surprising as it goes. The last half hour is suspenseful, engrossing, and fun.

I did not predict the ending and I never predicted that I’d end up liking the lead characters so much.

Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis has won me over. He puts an interesting and subtle 21st Century twist on the old macho ladies-man cliché.

I don’t think everyone in America knows who Charlie Day is yet, but they should.

Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) has a unique talent for acting frazzled and frantic, while still remaining sweet and lovable. He does hilariously foolish and self-destructive things, but he never seems like a stupid clown. We always end up relating to him and rooting for him.

With a great cast and a consistently entertaining story, “Horrible Bosses” is easily the best mainstream comedy I’ve seen this year.

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