Reel Matt

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Horrible Bosses 2

Film #487


Dale, Kurt and Nick decide to start their own business but things don’t go as planned because of a slick investor, prompting the trio to pull off a harebrained and misguided kidnapping scheme.

Year 3, Film #37

THE GOOD: For whatever reason, I didn’t think going into Horrible Bosses 2 that I would enjoy it as much as I did. Thinking back to the original which I saw a while ago, I don’t have fond memories (although as you can see from the review, I actually enjoyed the film quite a bit and had many laughs). Horrible Bosses 2 I feel will leave a much better, and more lasting, impression in my mind. It’s consistently laugh-out-loud funny with very few moments of downtime to catch your breath. And the story, which was my biggest complaint about the original, is much improved in the sequel and compliments the humor quite nicely. 

The gang is back at it with Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) looking to market their new joint venture, the Shower Buddy. New to the cast are the wonderful additions of Burt (Christoph Waltz) and Rex Hanson (Chris Pine), both of whom are perfect fits. And returning in minor capacities are some of the bosses from the original, David Harken (Kevin Spacey) and Dr. Harris (Jennifer Aniston). Of course there’s a slew of other characters each contributing a little piece, and many laughs, to the film. I don’t think there’s a bad egg in the bunch. Everyone plays their part and everyone gets at least one laugh in which is a testament not only to these actors themselves, but also to the filmmakers crafting the story. 

You may be wondering what makes it so funny and the simple answer is the characters. It’s just this wonderful cast being comfortable and in their element which allows for a natural delivery and a feeling of spontaneity (judging by the blooper reel shown during the credits, it seems like some parts were improvised but others scripted). If you’ve seen anything Bateman, Sudeikis, or Day have done, you know what kind of humor they do and that’s all you need to know for this film. If you haven’t, it’s just a non-stop cornucopia of nonsense and ridiculousness. The trailer gives you a good idea of the story, but not really the kind of humor. The best representative samples are the TV interview in the beginning and around 1:40 when they meet Harken in prison. 

One of the biggest improvements in Horrible Bosses 2 is the story. Again, judging by my review it didn’t seem like I had that big of an issue with the original, but my memory was soured. The reason for that I think was dealing with three separate storylines. Each of the men — Nick, Kurt, and Dale — had their own boss that had to be dealt with. That’s trying to shove three stories into one film. With Horrible Bosses 2, all the focus falls on the issues with the Hansons (that’s a lot of last names beginning with “H”). One set of “villains” (the more general antagonist is probably a better descriptor, but villains is more fun to write) with one storyline to follow; nice and simple. 

THE BAD: There really isn’t anything detrimental to this film at all. Compared to the original the story is much improved and the absurdity is significantly reduced. The film is still absurd and ridiculous, but that’s part of the humor and appeal of the film. What’s changed is the annoying element of that has been removed and we’re left with just the entertaining parts. If I had to come up with one thing, it would be that Horrible Bosses 2 is just not what you would consider a “good” film. There are many comedies that far surpass this one in terms of both laughs and execution. But while that might serve as a good academic argument, the fact of the matter is Horrible Bosses 2 is downright funny and will have you rolling around in your seat by the time the credits appear. 

THE TAKEAWAY: If you’re looking for a good time filled end-to-end with laughs, look no further than Horrible Bosses 2. It’s a marked improvement over the original though it does stick close to the kind of humor it delivers. The simple measure you can use to decide whether or not you’ll find it funny: watch the two parts I mentioned in the trailer. That, or knowing whether you like any previous work of Bateman, Sudeikis, or Day (and Chris Pine too, he’s the hidden star of this film). While I still have to list St. Vincent as my favorite comedy of the year, I’d have to say Horrible Bosses 2 comes in a close second. 

Horrible Bosses 2 opens in theaters on November 26, 2014. 

THE RATING: 5 out of 5