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Horrible Bosses: Laugh Out Loud Fun

By Pam Glazier · July 11, 2011

Horrible Bosses features three regular guys that have to deal with extreme crap in order to earn a living at their normal jobs. Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) is emotionally abused by his boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey). Harken intentionally overworks, under-appreciates, and passes-over Nick just to screw with him. Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) has a great job with a great boss, but the boss’s son (Colin Farrel) is insane, coked out of his mind, and has it out for Kurt. Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) can’t get his boss Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. (Jennifer Aniston) to stop sexually harassing him, and he’s locked into the job because of a bogus arrest record.

When these three friends lament the horrors that their respective bosses put them through at their local watering hole, they decide they’ve had enough. Just as they are about to enter in to a pact to quit their jobs, an old friend approaches them. It’s Kenny Sommerfeld (P.J. Byrne) from high school, a one-time Wall Street big wig now struggling as a blue collar laborer. Hearing Kenny’s story and realizing the $40 daily pay isn’t in the cards, reality sets in: there is no way they can quit their jobs.

Therefore, Kurt suggests that the only way out of their problems is to murder their bosses. The three hem and haw, but eventually agree. And the rest of the film consists of them trying to overcome their inherent “milk-toast middle-management-ness” in order to get it done. Horrible Bosses is great because it doesn’t sidetrack from the main point. It sets up the scenario and every scene follows through.

There are also a bunch of mini-subplots that interweave into the film quite well. These three friends are not criminals. They’re terrible at crime, but their very inefficacy is majorly important to the plot, as is the horniness of Kurt. Kurt’s insatiable libido is juxtaposed against Dale’s chaste monogamy to humorous effect, but it also comes in as a major catalyst for plot movement later on in the film.

My figurative hat is off to the writers of this film. No element is wasted. The “murder consultant” from the beginning, the dorky scare tactic of a cat out of nowhere when the guys are snooping around in Nick’s boss’s house, Dale’s crazy dentist boss having an affection for molesting her unconscious patients—all of it is utilized in smart call backs that are simply fun to watch. And these “nothing wasted” moments also serve to paint the three protagonists as some sort of trio of bumbling MacGyvers, and so we really root for them because we can relate to the bumbling, and we can respect the MacGyver (one must always respect the MacGyver).

And on top of the stellar tight scripting, this thing also brings the funny. I actually laughed out loud uncontrollably more than once. That’s rare. Most comedies these days seem to have some sort of “bleh” to them that prevents an overall good experience. But Horrible Bosses absolutely delivers. It’s not the messiah of comedy, but it doesn’t have any flaws that leave a bad taste in your mouth either. Go see it. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cry laughing.