Sunday, August 07, 2011


Cast: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Donald Sutherland and Jamie Foxx
Director: Seth Gordon
Screenplay by Michael Markowitz and John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
Time: 97 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis and Jason Bateman as partners in crime

PREAMBLE: With such A-list stars as Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx thrown together in a raunchy comedy, I was expecting a huge laugh fest from Horrible Bosses. Yet viewers at a recent media screening that I attended were unusually quiet as the gags seem to go over their heads. In fact the only laughter to be heard was at the closing credits when 'out-takes' and 'mis-takes' of the movie accompanied the listings.

Can we blame this on the utterly ridiculous and dumb situations upon which the gags are based? Or to the frequent cuts of naughty dialogue and scenes? Or the fact that Malaysians do not fully appreciate the humour of American TV stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudekis? Or a combination of all three, perhaps?

SYNOPSIS: Office workers Nick Hendricks (Bateman) and Kurt Bickman (Sudeikis) and dental assistant Dale Arbus (Day) hate their bosses who make their lives miserable. Nick's boss (Spacey) abuses him in front of the other staff. Kurt's boss (Farrell) snorts coke, patronises prostitutes and is on the verge of destroying the company, while Dale's boss (Aniston) harasses him for sex with her daily (right).

To solve their problem, the three friends decide to kill their bosses - and they hire a 'murder consultant' named 'Motherf*cker Jones' (Foxx) to help out.

HITS & MISSES: The three leads, Bateman, Sudeikis and Day, display good chemistry as partners in crime. The supporting cast are impeccable too and it is obvious that they are enjoying their 'horrid' roles. Yet the comedy is lame and sometimes downright inane because its writers resort to filthy language and dumb ass gags that insult viewers' intelligence. One especially lame scene involves Dale, a guy who works with syringes daily, brutally stabbing Nick's boss with an anti-histamine syringe in a bid to revive him! And why would Aniston's hot and sexy dentist risk her professional career for a jerk like Dale when she can have any man she wants?

With murder on the menu, this is a dark comedy yet director Seth Gordon seem to be afraid of venturing deeper into that territory. He takes the safe and easy way out, and even foregoes the chance to 'flesh-out' some crucial lusty scenes like those involving Kurt and three characters in the movie. Yeah, it's mostly talk, little action and even fewer laughs.

THE LOWDOWN: Great performances, bad script.


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