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.

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Ballet Victoria is honouring Rosemarie Liscum, the president of the board of directors who was instrumental in the building the dance company. Liscum died earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Ballet Victoria)
Rosemarie Liscum remembered as dedicated, instrumental builder of Victoria Ballet

The president of the ballet company’s board of directors died at the age of 59

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Three Legged Dog Productions performed Jesus Christ Superstar in 2019. Tim Penney photo
Non-profit plans musical renaissance in the Comox Valley

Three Legged Dog Productions is preparing for a summer residency at Filberg Park

View Gallery curator Chai Duncan admires the work of graduating visual art student Hailin Zhang, one of the artists in the upcoming End Marks grad show. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU visual art grad show presented as virtual gallery tour due to COVID-19

‘End Marks’ exhibition is on display from April 29 to May 30

Most Read