Everyone knows what it’s like to have a boss they could just kill, and the latest comedy from Four Christmases‘ director Seth Gordon, Horrible Bosses, takes the shared desires of ever worker and turns it into a funny movie, about three men, all looking to kill their respective horrible bosses.
Jason Bateman (Paul), Jason Sudeikis (Hall Pass), and Charlie Day (Going The Distance), star as Nick, Kurt, and Dale respectively, all have various reasons for wanting to kill their respective bosses; Nick’s boss, David Harken (Kevin Spacey, American Beauty), is a slave-driving psycho, and an arrogant ass, who’s refused to promote Nick and even made his co-workers believe he’s an alcoholic, while Kurt’s boss Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell, The Way Back) is a total sleazy tool, and a psychotic coke-head, who’s running his father’s company into the ground and forcing Kurt to fire his friends, while Dale’s boss Julia (Jennifer Aniston, Friends), is a sex-crazed maneater, who happens to be an employee raping, nymphomaniac, and attempting to blackmail Dale into having sex with her; and they eventually decide to go through with their murderous plans after realising how the recent recession (and a few other factors) will make it impossible for them to get jobs anywhere else.
It’s a little unbelievable how easily the trio suddenly jump from disliking their bosses to immediately going all Strangers on a Train on them, but at least they try their hand a hiring a hitman before hand (with a couple of amusing results), and even run into their murder consultant; a man by the name of MuthaFucka Jones (Jamie Foxx, Due Date); before they eventually start stumbling their way into trying to off one another’s employers, and find themselves breaking into houses, stealing phones, fleeing crime scenes, and being questioned by the police, with all the ineptitude and bumbling you’d expect from a gang of everyday no hopers like Nick, Kurt, and Dale.
Yet while the story may be a little far fetched, and even take more precedent than the comedy in many respects, Horrible Bosses is still a very funny film thanks to two things; the leading lads all work great together, have brilliant chemistry, and are at their best when their ad-libbing their very funny arguments (which come fast, and often, when they inevitably mess up and make stupid mistakes during their murder planning), plus the bosses themselves are simply fantastically exaggerated versions of real-life assholes every viewer is bound to recognise, and the real stars of the show.
Direction is nothing to rave about, pacing is a little off (Horrible Bosses starts out terribly slow, but gradually builds into a very funny movie; with practically all of the film’s big laughs coming in the latter half of the film), and once again it’s not quite as good as the trailers made out, yet the casting was perfect (every single member of the cast was exceptionally well placed; particularly Colin Farrell, and his neigh-unrecognisable comb-over transformation), the jokes really are funny, and overall Horrible Bosses is still a fun, easy to watch, comedy with an amusing concept, that’s guaranteed to bring a good few laughs, and should be enjoyed by anyone who likes modern comedies in the vein of Hall Pass.
Like many modern comedies, Horrible Bosses‘ video presentation brings the film to Blu-ray with a slightly warm palette that makes everything look just a little bit rosier than real life, yet still maintains natural looking fleshtones, deep and inky black levels, and a contrast level that really helps bring the film’s boldest and brightest colours to life (most notably in bar scenes), giving the illusion of added depth.
This transfer isn’t without its problems however, does contain some mild crushing, and a spot of random smoothness here and there, but as they’re generally fleeting issues which don’t appear that often, are likely to be overlooked, and surrounded by suitably strong levels of fine detail, solid texturing, a healthy level of film-like grain, and a lack of any true visual hindrances, the video quality for the Horrible Bosses‘ Blu-ray release, while it won’t win any awards, is more than adequate, and sure to please the film’s fans.
Coming to Blu-ray via a 5.1 DTS-HD MA transfer, the audio track accompanying Horrible Bosses is also very strong for a comedy; as just like with the majority of comedy releases most of the focus rests in the front and centre channels, and often relies on the reproduction of dialogue (a place where this soundtrack excels), but there’s also plenty of ambient noise to be heard from all channels, numerous occasions where the rears are given chance to truly work, but only very few instances where underused sub woofer get called into play.
Levelling is excellent, clarity is superb, and even though the film is often littered with chaos, crashes, bangs, people speaking/shouting over people, and all manner of effects thrown in at the same time, there’s never a line of dialogue lost, and even the music sounds brilliant; making for a solid all round presentation that’s not likely to astound, or win over any action buffs, but does a fine job of enhancing the Horrible Bosses experience.
In terms of special features Horrible Bosses isn’t especially well equipped, and comes to Blu-ray with merely a handful of throwaway features; which, as well as including both the theatrical and extended cuts of the movie, consist of a handful of funny deleted scenes (including two alternate openings), and a series of short featurettes where the majority of the cast and crew discuss horrible bosses they’ve had in the past, Spacey, Aniston, and Farrell discuss how fun it was to play a mean employer, and the three employees provide a few tips of how to survive working under a horrible boss; which makes for a somewhat lackluster affair that gives fans a little more of the humour included in the film, but nothing memorable, or special.
The Bottom Line:
In the end Horrible Bosses may not live up to everyone’s expectations (particularly given the impressive trailers the preceded its release), but even though the story seems to take too high a precedent over the comedy, it’s fairly unrealistic, and very slow to start, there’s no denying that Horrible Bosses is a very funny movie, which will have you laughing-out-loud in places, and thoroughly entertained by the impressive cast, and the bosses’ equally impressive transformations.
And for anyone who’s looking to watch the film at home, Blu-ray is a fairly safe bet; as while the picture and audio quality may not be up to the standard of some of the most pristine releases, they are both more than adequate, of higher quality than the DVD transfer, and the best way you can currently own Horrible Bosses; even if the special features are a bit of a let down.
Overall, Horrible Bosses may not be for everyone (especially though who had their hopes raised by the initial trailers), but if you’re a fan of comedies such as Hall Pass, you’re bound to enjoy this fun new take on Strangers on a Train, and should definitely give Horrible Bosses a rent.