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Horrible Bosses 2 Gets the 'Horrible' Right, but Little Else

<i>Horrible Bosses 2</i> Gets the 'Horrible' Right, but Little Else

Release Date: November 26, 2014
Rating: R (for strong crude sexual content and language throughout)
Genre: Comedy/Sequel
Run Time: 108 min.
Director: Sean Anders
Cast: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz

While it was difficult to recommend because of its sheer crass-ness, there was still something darkly funny about the original Horrible Bosses back in 2011. With a likeable cast, zany set-ups and a relatable comedic premise for anyone who has survived a truly awful boss or work experience, it was like Office Space for the iPhone generation.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the dismal second chapter. While the original lineup including Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Jason Sudeikis (Hall Pass), Charlie Day (Pacific Rim) and Jennifer Aniston (The Switch) is back - something that's often a good sign - even the addition of appealing antagonists played by Christoph Waltz (Water for Elephants) and Chris Pine (Star Trek Into Darkness) can't save Horrible Bosses 2 from being a total stinker.

Like Dumb and Dumber To, another unnecessary sequel that released earlier this month, the best thing that can be said for Horrible Bosses 2 is that it lives up to its title. From the juvenile script that's unapologetically racist, sexist and scrapes the bottom of the barrel for laughs, to the are-you-kidding-me plot that plunges to new levels of stupidity, it's hard to believe this isn't a straight-to-video release. Need proof? In the Horrible Bosses 2 universe, rape (yes, rape) is apparently really, really funny.

After escaping the clutches of their rotten superiors last time around, Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) are now giving self-employment a try. Hoping their invention of the QVC-friendly Shower Buddy (don't ask) will ensure they'll never work for anyone else again, a botched deal with slimy businessman Bert Hanson (Waltz) causes the trio to consider, once again, whether crime pays.

A gazillion leaps of logic later, Nick, Kurt and Dale are smack dab in the middle of a kidnapping scheme. With hopes of recouping their sizable investment, they discover that Bert's pampered, preening son Rex (Pine) has his own agenda and wants to help them. Not feeling like he's being treated as a valuable member of the company, Rex is eager to teach his father a costly lesson.

Despite being smart enough to know better, these forty-something protagonists immediately fall for Rex's scheme, and the story devolves into a batty race to the finish with cameos from Dale's sexually aggressive (and that's putting it mildly) former boss Dr. Julia Harris (Aniston), the guys' reliable source (his name is unprintable) for how to effectively commit crime (Jamie Foxx, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Nick's arch nemesis Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey, Superman Returns) who is now behind bars.

Watching something as ill-conceived as Horrible Bosses 2 is disconcerting for a variety of reasons. For one, acting talent of this caliber deserves so much better, as does the audience, of course. Secondly, when did it become acceptable to devalue humans the way the script of Horrible Bosses 2 does?

From the gross mistreatment of household help to a grown woman unapologetically fantasizing about two 14-year-old boys having sex, what passes for comedy these days is troubling. Even your average Judd Apatow film, risqué mayhem and all, has a worthwhile theme or two as a counter-balance. With Horrible Bosses 2, the only real takeaway is that Nick, Kurt and Dale have all the makings of truly horrible bosses themselves, something that doesn't bode particularly well for the inevitable third film. One can only hope the madness will stop here.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking. References to illegal drugs.
  • Language/Profanity: The f-word, used as an expletive and in the sexual context, is the most frequent offender. There’s a slew of other profanity, including several misuses of God's name. Racial epithets and very off-color jokes that are in bad taste.
  • Sex/Nudity: Right on par with the first Horrible Bosses, every sort of sexual act, including threesomes, specific sexual preferences and homosexual activity, are discussed in a frank, and often, crass manner. There's also a quick shot of video footage where Nick and Julia are in the throes of intercourse. An informercial for "The Shower Buddy" goes very wrong when it looks like the actors are engaging in various sexual acts.
  • Violence: A couple of characters get shot. Car chases. References to knocking people off. A kidnapping.

Publication date: November 25, 2014