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Horrible Bosses (2011)
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/11/2011
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/10/2011
As far as I'm concerned, movies are meant to be an escape from reality. So, here's a question -- should movies which aren't necessarily realistic reflect reality? Will they still be an escape if they remind us of real life? This question came to mind while watching Horrible Bosses. Is it wise for a comedy to bring up the fact that times are tough?
Horrible Bosses tells the story of Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day), each of whom suffers at their job due to their crazy boss. Nick works in finance and his boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), makes Nick come in early and stay late and still refuses to give him a promotion. Kurt actually likes his job at a chemical company, but the owner's cokehead son, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell), plans to bleed the place dry while making Kurt his scapegoat. Dale works as a dental assistant for Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), a woman who constantly sexually harasses Dale, despite the fact that he's engaged. The three men share their war stories, and all three realize that they are trapped in their jobs. They decide that the only way to escape their fate is to murder their bosses. They meet with Jones (Jamie Foxx) who assists them in doing the job. However the three men quickly realize that committing murder isn't as easy as it sounds.
OK, I just got a million dollar idea -- let's remake Nine to Five, but instead of three women who are after their boss, it will be three men who are after three bosses. Oh wait, somebody already did that when they made Horrible Bosses. The movie definitely owes a huge debt to that 1980 Dolly Parton classic, as follows a similar path of twisted boss/employee relationships. However, Horrible Bosses puts a very modern spin on the story.
When There's Something About Mary was released in 1998, it ushered in a new style of comedy, playing off of groundwork which has been laid by Animal House some 20 years later. The movie took a seemingly straight-forward plot and recognizable actors and injected the kind of crude, scatological humor usually seen in indie comedies. The result was the modern gross-out film. Horrible Bosses follows this trend as it tries very, very hard to shock us with its salty dialogue. There are some lines here which would baffle a frat boy and the sex jokes are nearly non-stop. The movie really tries to bowl us over with Jennifer Aniston's performance. We are used to seeing her in "girl next door" roles, but here, she says some things which are rarely heard outside of porn.
These attempts at being shocking hurt the film. The humor here essentially comes in two forms -- very broad strokes, usually involving a raunchy joke, or very subtle and quick lines. I found the latter of the two to be more appealing. The potty humor often falls flat, especially a long scene involving an old friend which the guys meet in a bar. Is Aniston's dialogue shocking? Sure, but it's not particularly funny. For me, the laughs came from the secondary lines, usually delivered by Sudeikis or Day. These not only felt like something which would be said amongst a group of old friends, they show that the movie actually has some depth.
The thing which really jumps out at you about Horrible Bosses is the cast, especially those who are playing against type. You can tell that Aniston is having a blast playing an nymphomaniac and Farrell is almost unrecognizable in his combover makeup. Charlie Day may not be the most famous face in the cast, as he's best known for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but he steals several scenes, most notably one where he sings while waiting in the car. It's interesting to note that Sudeikis plays nearly the same character here that he did in Hall Pass. Sure, he's funny, but who decided to cast him not once, but twice as a ladies' man? Speaking of repeat casting, Jason Bateman once again plays the nervous guy who doesn't like to rock the boat. He's fine here, but I feel like I've seen him in this role far too many times, and he's not given much to do.
In the end, Horrible Bosses is a missed opportunity. The plot is one which many viewers can relate -- if you've got a good boss, then good for you. Again, the cast is very good and there are some funny moments. However, I found myself chuckling more than laughing out loud. The movie has more plot than one would expect and the desire to see what will become of Nick, Kurt, and Dale becomes more intriguing than the comedy.
Horrible Bosses gives us a nice lesson about how pronunciation and race intersect on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no distinct grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture has a very nice depth to it, as the objects in the foreground are separated from the background. The picture is crisp and the detail is good. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a comedy, the bulk of the sound comes from the front and center channels. The stereo effects are detailed and show good separation. The music sounds very good. An action scene during the finale does bring us excellent surround sound and subwoofer effects.
The Horrible Bosses Blu-ray Disc contains only a handful of extras, which are found on the THEATRICAL VERSION Disc. In "My Least Favorite Career" (5 minutes), Director Seth Gordon and the cast talk about their real-life working situations and bad bosses they've had in the past. "Surviving a Horrible Boss" (7 minutes) is sort of a making-of where Gordon, Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day talk about the casting of the film, the characters and the story. "Being Mean is So Much Fun" (7 minutes) focuses on Spacey, Aniston, and Farrell who talk about their approach to the movie and what is was like to be the villain. The Disc contains seven DELETED SCENES which run about 10 minutes. These include not one, but two passes at the opening credits sequence, which are somewhat different from the one in the finished film. Most of the stuff here is from the early part of the movie, including another scene with Donald Sutherland. "The Making of the Horrible Bosses Soundtrack" (6 minutes) looks at how the score for the film was created using a variety of rock musicians.
Review Copyright 2011 by Mike Long