The latest shamelessly vulgar comedy to hit multiplexes opens by introducing its three longtime buddies at their respective workplaces. Nick (Jason Bateman) is a white-collar workaholic who's been slaving away for months in anticipation of a coveted promotion. Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) is a genial employee at a small chemical company whose fortune changes overnight when his boss suddenly (Donald Sutherland) dies, leaving him at the unfortunate mercy of his boss’ son, a coke-snorting, womanizing asshole (Colin Farrell) with a heinous comb-over. Finally, Dale (Charlie Day) is an engaged-to-be-married dental assistant who is constantly harassed by his sex-starved dentist boss (Jennifer Aniston) — which is ironic because he’s a registered sex offender for taking a post-carousing leak at an empty playground.
Unfortunately, that’s about as much character development as we’re given from director Seth Gordon and a quartet of screenwriters, none of whom seem interested in dosing this course comedy with even a trace of empathy or feeling. The trio of one-note, caricatured bosses fares worst of all, none more over-the-top than Nick’s boss, of course played by a nasty Kevin Spacey, who essentially reprises his role in 1994’s Swimming with Sharks, a sharper, darker workplace horror show.
That’s not to say Horrible Bosses isn’t sporadically funny — Bateman, Day and Sudeikis’ deadpan camaraderie nearly compensates for their characters’ stupid, illogical actions. Grade: C
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