There is a reason why comedies always seem to come out strongly in a list like this. When a comedy succeeds, it can be as sublime as cinema get (academy take note). When a comedy is average it often feels like a let down, the moments between the laughs become almost tragic pauses. But when a comedy sets up a decent idea, is stuffed with good players and then suddenly goes off to squander its own idea and end up in a oddly misogynistic backwater, well that is a remarkable let down. And can a film that has Colin Farrell looking like this really be all bad. OK, there was the Jennifer Aniston factor but even including that the answer is yes – this film is horrible.
There were a lot of question marks about Horrible Bosses before it came out. Could Charlie Day make the leap from TV to film, could Jason Bateman redeem himself from plenty of diminishing return comedies of late*, is the room for a mainstream black comedy about murder, could a film with such a dumb title be any good. Well most of these questions were answered no, with the exception that Charlie Day is by far and away the best thing in this. And bearing in mind he is saddled with the worst storyline (the sexual harassment by Jennifer Aniston which is unbelievable, unsavoury and also acutely disturbing in equal measure). Jason Bateman gets lumbered with Kevin Spacey in Swimming With Sharks mode, makes a fist of the workaholic loser bullied by his boss. And Jason
Sedaris Sudeikis turns in a repulsive turn as a fundamentally good guy tortured by a dick of a new boss who for reasons only known by the writers, turns into a womanising git for no reason in the plot.
Its this left turn by the film, which wimps out on its Strangers On A Train / Throw Momma From The Train / Why Not Put A Train In This, to concentrate on killing Spacey, and turning
Sedaris Sudeikis into a sleezebag which murders the film. It had already shown its sexual politics to be dodgy with the Aniston plot, but at least that is part of the plot. Sedaris Sudeikis is supposed to be a good guy compared to the horrors of Colin Farrell’s boorish, drug addicted boss (the other good comic performance in this film). But the film kills off Farrell, makes Spacey some kind of proper moustache twilling bad guy, waters down any aspect of its premise and leaves you thinking the worst thing you can ever feel at the end of a comedy. More depressed than you felt on the way in. Horrible by name.
*The answer to this is almost certainly no. I did not see the body swap comedy The Change-Up because I had more than an inkling that it would end up on this list.