Director: Sean Anders
Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Chris Pine
Release Date (US): 28th November, 2014
Company: Warner Bros/New Line Cinema
“Hello, Nick… Guy who saved my life… Guy who fucked my wife.” – Dave Harken
Sean Anders (That’s My Boy) directs the follow-up to 2011’s warmly-received Horrible Bosses, which re-unites Jason Bateman (This Is Where I Leave You), Charlie Day (Pacific Rim) and Jason Sudeikis (We’re The Millers) as the trio of hapless idiots fed-up with the way that their bosses treat them. This time around they’re looking to avoid the problem altogether – by starting their own company. However, when a slick investor double-crosses them, they hatch another ludicrous plan to kidnap and ransom his son.
Like 22 Jump Street, this is a sequel that strives to tell a different story from the first movie – and the plot is a lot better for it. The movie ultimately feels like a separate adventure – thus avoiding the common pitfall suffered by ‘the comedy sequel’. Centring the premise around the guys’ start-up business is a smart idea, and helps build upon what made Horrible Bosses so funny the first time round – without ever feeling too tired.
The main storyline itself is fairly arbitrary, although it does still generate some interest. The movie balances the plot with the humour well – instead of opting to rely on the latter as a crutch. As such, Horrible Bosses 2 stands out alongisde a few other comedies from this year in actually feeling like a genuine movie – and not just a collection of gags and silly pratfalls. It’s no comedy masterpiece, but it’s still an enjoyable bit of fun.
“We’re not going to see Mother-Fucker Jones because we’re not going to kidnap anyone!” – Nick Hendricks
A large part of the entertainment factor comes from the characters themselves – particularly the three goofball leads, who are so likeable in their roles. The hapless Dale (Day) bounces off the equally idiotic (yet more crass) Kurt (Sudeikis) – both of whom are counter-balanced by the much more level-headed Nick. Jason Bateman always makes for an excellent straight man in the face of lunacy, and he does a great job here again.
Chris Pine (Star Trek) is sensational as the manic and egotistical Rex Hanson, showing how incredibly versatile he is as an actor. He ultimately outshines his father, played by Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes), who has considerably less to do here. Elsewhere, there are welcome returns for Jennifer Aniston (Cake), Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) and Kevin Spacey (House Of Cards), but this sequel still suffers from a Colin Farrell-shaped hole.
Direction & Tone
A few eyebrows were raised when Seth Gordon (Identity Thief) chose not to return for Horrible Bosses 2, but Sean Anders does an admirable job at recapturing the tone of the original. A few jokes may not sit well with all viewers, but the funniest gags tend to be the most innocent ones – often centring around the childlike idiocy of the three leads. That said, this movie easily earns it’s 15/R-Rating and doesn’t shy away from adult humour.
- My biggest problem with the first Horrible Bosses movie is that, by the time I actually got around to watching it, I felt I’d heard all the funniest lines in the trailers. This time around I ended up (intentionally or not) going in blind. And it was very funny indeed.
- That said, I’d agree with most people and say the first was better – but this wasn’t too far behind… (At least, not to the extent the critics are leading you to believe).
- Well, whad’ya know? We end up getting, not one, but two halfway decent comedy sequels this year (well, 22 Jump Street was more than decent). The reign of the terrible Hangover sequels seems like a bad memory…
Horrible Bosses 2 may not be ground-breaking comedic cinema, but most of the gags are on point, and the three leads are likeable enough to sustain the story. Chris Pine’s stellar turn also helps to elevate the movie from the depths of sequel mediocrity.
Result: “Quite Good”