Murder by morons

The silly side of revenge shows in Horrible Bosses

Charlie Day, left, plays a dental assistant who wants to kill his touchy-feely boss, played by Jennifer Aniston in the comedy Horrible Bosses.

Alot of people hate their bosses with a passion, so along comes opportunistic Hollywood with Horrible Bosses, a cautionary comedy about what can happen when downtrodden members of the workforce plan a lethal revenge on their odious overlords. The results, although only intermittently funny, have a vulgar panache that should entertain non-demanding summer audiences.

The movie focuses on three friends who all have a very different boss from hell. First, there’s Nick (Jason Bateman, Extract, Up in the Air), a middle-management drone who, for six long years, has been stoically sucking up overtime and lots of patronizing abuse at the hands of a smug sociopath (Kevin Spacey) in hopes of becoming vice president — a half-promised promotion that proves to be a cruel illusion. Equally put-upon is Kurt (Jason Sudeikis, Hall Pass), who works in a chemical factory run by — cue the irony — a deranged coke fiend (an almost unrecognizable Colin Farrell) who has it in for him. Rounding out the trio of hapless victims is Dale (Charlie Day), a wimpy dental assistant who is continually harassed by a sexually predatory boss (Jennifer Aniston) with a potty mouth, groping hands and the determination to shag her shy underling before he marries his fiancée.

Out for drinks and group commiseration one night, the notion pops up that they should all kill their bosses. Although proposed as a boozy joke, the idea sticks and before long the three goofs are looking for a hit man. When that doesn’t exactly pan out as planned, they stumble across a “murder consultant” (Jamie Lee Fox) who suggests they take a page from the plot of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and kill each other’s bosses so as to confuse the police. Not a bad idea, really, but it doesn’t take long for this trio of incompetents to screw things up as they ineptly begin surveillance on the intended victims in order to devise murders resembling accidents.

This plot-heavy farce rolls on from there, complete with a mix of goofy shenanigans, silly physical comedy, lots of vulgarity — and too many coincidences and other trademarks of a lazy script. That the movie is as watchable as it is can be credited to the chemistry of the three likable leads, who are both flawed and sympathetic. The villains, too, are tasty — especially Spacey, who nibbles the scenery with consummate skill. What Horrible is short on are the patterns and repetitions that give a comedy real zing as it builds up momentum. (That said, the guy from the East Indian call centre who provides a live voice for Nick’s car’s GPS is a nifty recurring gag with a good payoff.) In short, this has just enough laughs to get a pass, even if it seems better suited as DVD fodder rather than a night out at a movie theatre. M

 

Horrible Bosses ★★½

Directed by Seth Gordon

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Charlie Day

Rated R – 100 minutes

Continues at the Capitol, SilverCity & Westshore

 

 

Perfectly Potable

Let’s assume that your boss is not a nasty piece of work. Why not celebrate your good luck with some non-pretentious bubbly, let’s say a bottle of Prosecco from the Veneto region of Italy. Softer than champagne and brimming with flavours of citrus, pear and honeyed peach, Prosecco is a perfect – and affordable – summertime libation. Some of the brands to seek out include Mionetto, Pergolo, and Terre.

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