"Your Options are, JACK-S**T."
The first Horrible Bosses film seems to have developed a lot of devoted followers in recent years. I know a lot of people who really love that film and a lot of people who, actually don’t hate it, but aren’t fond of it. I have to admit I am more of the latter. I think it’s a fun, lazy comedy that has a passable rating, maybe not one of the standout comedies of this decade or anything but it made me chuckle consistently. Has the second one improved?
When their new business fails as the result of a ruthless investor (Christoph Waltz) our familiar trio Nick, Kurt and Dale plot revenge, by kidnapping his son (Chris Pine) and demanding a ransom.
When I saw the trailer for the second one I thought, yes. I really believed that this time around they had cracked the comedy conundrum and made a really good film here. There were a lot of really funny moments here and if the rest of the film could be as consistently funny as well as balancing a few more gut-busting parts then I may actually understand the praise the fans give this series. But sadly once again I left the cinema thinking, meh.
It does a better job of the do-the-same-thing-in-a-different-place tactic of other comedy sequels but after a while the actions and idiocy becomes difficult to believe. A lot of comedies cross the idiot line but they openly express it like Will Ferell. Here it just becomes a bit pretentious after a while. This is the biggest problem of the film for me, it just becomes a bit too stupid and unbelievable. The way that the characters act is no longer in a way that seems plausible, it just looks as if the things that they do are purely for the plot to move in that direction or to generate a laugh while they can.
Like I said this can be fine if the comedy says straight from the off ‘We’re going for it and we’re not compromising’. But Horrible Bosses tries to be serious and clever but then moves to stupid when it needs to. This results in not only an inconsistent amount of comedy but also an inconsistent style of comedy.
The cast does a pretty good job for its material that would probably do a lot worse with anyone less talented. Chris Pine is undoubtedly the standout role, he really jumps into it and makes it his own, as does Kevin Spacey. Waltz’s role really feels like it was written for him, he’s evil and he enjoys it, and that works nicely but I would really like to see him do a bit more. You have a really good actor here, expand a bit, it can still be funny.
Our main characters also feel underused. They are much hollower this time around, not being seen as real characters, instead they’re the guys who get caught up between other (and more interesting) people. The chemistry is still enjoyable but it fails to transfer from just one of the trio to any other character they interact with. Three people have a conversation with themselves and occasionally someone interjects and gives them something else to talk about.
To give credit where it’s due the film tried to go in a different direction and that is good for a sequel rather than just repeat the same thing as before. Although I’ve focussed only on negatives everything else in the film made me chuckle when it wasn’t going wrong. But it fails to make a large impression and braak away to achieve greatness.