“Horrible Bosses” Movie Review

     As the trend in R-Rated comedies continues in an effort to cash in on the success of "The Hangover" films, we are treated with another one I would say falls in the top tier of these movies.  "Horrible Bosses" checks in with a smart script and a cast who is more than game to deliver it's raunchy lines.  For the most part, Horrible Bosses maintains a comedic tone throughout and may just be the naughtiest film of the summer based on both it's premise and certain characters.

     Jason Bateman (Nick), Charlie Day (Dale), and Jason Sudeikis (Kurt) are three best friends who each have horror stories about their bosses.  Seemingly each day, they gather at their favorite watering hole and discuss a days worth of disturbing continual events.  Nick is up for a promotion at his company, or so he thinks.  Problem is, his boss Dave, played by Kevin Spacey, has other ideas and seems to think of new ways each day to make Nick's life miserable just for the devilish fun of it.

     Kurt is happy at his job, that is until his boss dies an untimely death, leaving his coke head womanizing son Bobby (Colin Farrell) in charge of the family business.  Apparently, Bobby hasn't liked very many of the employees in his father's company and seeks revenge on them by having Kurt fire them all.  This turns Kurt's world upside down and leaves him fuming each day after work.

     Then there's Dale who works as a dental assistant for Julia, played with a hell of a twist by the normally prudish Jennifer Anniston.  Dale has the enviable problem of having to deal with a nympho female boss that looks like....well looks like Jennifer Anniston.  Nick and Kurt react just as most men in the audience of this film are likely to react and that is without much compassion.  I mentioned in my review of "Bad Teacher" that if the filmmakers were under the impression that having Cameron Diaz continually say the F word was comedy, then they were sadly mistaken.  In comparison here, Anniston has dyed her hair and become an unrecognizable brunette.  Her lines in the film are truly shocking and make Demi Moore's sexual harassment lines in "Disclosure" look like Mary Poppins.  Point being, she is not Jennifer Anniston in this film.  For the first time she has finally channeled someone else and the resulting performance is a highlight of the film.

     Too many of these types of comedies play as though they are a series of sketches strung together with basically no story at all.  That is not the case with Horrible Bosses.  I attribute this to the aforementioned scenes in the bar.  They are constantly discussing the days events and then planning what they have in store for the next day.  If you haven't heard, the film's plot centers around the fact these guys are planning to kill their bosses.  Of course, they are certainly not experienced in how to go about this so they seek out a consultant of sorts.  Played by Jamie Foxx, I'll refer to him simply as "Jones" here and let you absorb a recurring joke in the film on your own.  Jones advice leads our three leads to a cat and mouse game played with their bosses during off hours.  We join them on a series of recons and stakeouts, all of which create a number of hilarious moments.

     Something I admire about Horrible Bosses is it's ability to be a true ensemble piece.  What with all the talent in the film, not one of the performances stand out over the other.  Each actor has plenty of juicy stand alone moments from beginning to end.  Screenwriters Michael Markowitz and John Francis Daily deserve the bulk of the credit here as does Director Seth Gordon for the ability to put these scenes together into a cohesive narrative and maximize the laughs.  Horrible Bosses isn't a gut buster like "Bridesmaids", but it does stand as what will likely be one of the better comedies of the year. GRADE: B