By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day are back and the results are not that bad. I am not a huge fan of the first film, but I do like it. I feel that the first movie delivers fun laughs, but ultimately doesn’t use some of the cast members’ talents to their fullest, and overplayed the comedy style of some. That’s pretty much what one gets from this sequel that has the tagline, “New Crime, Same Tools.” The comedy style is pretty much the same and even though the crime doesn’t involve attempted murder, the ineptitude of the characters remains intact. This should please fans of the first film, but will probably annoy or turn off others.
Having grown fed up with working for bosses, Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day), and Kurt (Sudeikis) decide to form their own business and be their own bosses. With a novel product idea, the guys seek out investors and attract the interest of Burt Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and his son Rex (Chris Pine). After agreeing to handle distribution of the product, the Hansons con Nick, Kurt, and Dale and eventually steal their product from them. Desperate to save their business, the fellas decide to kidnap Rex and hold him for ransom. As usual, the incompetence of Nick, Kurt and Dale make their scheme more complicated than originally planned.
Directed by Sean Anders (We’re the Millers), and written by Anders, John Morris, Jonathan Goldstein, and John Francis Daley, Horrible Bosses 2 is one of those sequels that is just as good as its predecessor. In fact, it has all of the same problems of the first film. Not all of the humor works well, but enough does work to make the film entertaining. Occasionally, some of the improvisational moments (which are a bit obvious) get a bit over the top and out of control. Finally, there really is not a whole lot of character development in both of these movies. The characters remain static and don’t really grow at all. Nick remains the voice of reason, but too weak to really talk some sense into his friends. Kurt’s libidinous nature continues to affect his judgment. Dale is still a dimwitted manchild.
On the other hand, the actors portraying these limited characters are quite talented and they offer solid performances despite the limitations of their characters. I still feel that Bateman gets underused, Sudeikis is pretty solid, and Day does well, but gets a little gratingly over-the-top in some of his improvised moments. Christoph Waltz is another tremendous talent who doesn’t have very much to do in this movie. Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx make some deliciously funny reprisals, but the real standout of this movie has to be Chris Pine. Pine, who, with his performances in Stretch and this movie, has proven his ability as comic actor. The man is absolutely hilarious! Pine not only has star quality and the charismatic screen presence for leading man roles, but can pull off comedy beautifully. I sincerely would love to see him in a better written and directed comedy film.
That is not to say that Sean Anders is a bad director, or that he did a horrendous job with this movie. He just didn’t bring anything new to this film to set it apart from its first installment. He also needed to exercise a little bit more restraint and control with the cast on some of their scenes. Still, this movie does offer some genuine laughs and is certainly worthy of being rented or watched via Netflix. I’d even go so far as recommending it as a matinee. Horrible Bosses 1 & 2 are good for laughs, but will never be comedy classics.