Sunday, December 14, 2014

Horrible Bosses 2 [A Fat Jesus Film Review]

'Horrible Bosses' was released in 2011. It and '21 Jump Street' were two of my favorite comedies of the year, and now in 2014 we've gotten sequels to both. '22 Jump Street' was a helluva good sequel and I was really looking toward 'Horrible Bosses 2.' The trio of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis were a treat in the first film, and I was really excited to watch them get the gang back together. 'Horrible Bosses 2' doesn't have quite the same magic as 'Horrible Bosses.' But unlike what you're probably reading on Rotten Tomatoes or other critics sites, this was hardly a bad film.

'Horrible Bosses 2' follows the story of Nick Hendricks, Dale Arbus, and Kurt Buckman (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) after the events of the first film. They have decided to start their own business, making a car wash inspired shower head, "The Shower Buddy." They have trouble finding investors until Burt Hanson (Chistoph Waltz) and his son Rex (Chris Pine), approach him. They admire their work ethic and drive to keep production in America. They offer the trio an investment if they can produce 100,000 units. Nick, Dale and Kurt take out a business loan, rent a warehouse, hire workers and make the units they need. Burt and Rex back out of the deal and plan to seize their inventory in foreclosure, leaving the three $500,000 in debt. The company is about to go under and the trio is in trouble, so they go to Nick's old boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) for advice. He tells them they have no legal recourse, leading to the three coming up with a plan to kidnap Rex and hold him for ransom. They then go back to "Motherf**ker" Jones (Jamie Foxx) and ask his advice on how to kidnap someone. He tells them the best way is to kidnap them and keep them knocked out for the duration. Nick, Dale and Kurt then decide to steal nitrous oxide from Dale's old boss Julia's (Jennifer Aniston) dentist's office. The plan is in place and everything is a go, as these three argumentative friends decide to try their hand at kidnapping and extortion this time around.

'Horrible Bosses 2' is a step down from the first film in a lot of ways. The chemistry between Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis is still fantastic. The three are a joy to watch and the 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' style of almost over the top "yelling" comedy pleases me greatly. The one liners, misinterpretations, pop culture references and general buffoonery of the three is simply astounding to behold. The supporting cast is still fun too. Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston all reprise their roles from the previous film and do well. Though Spacey's character, Dave Harkin, might have been a stretch to bring back, I'll never oppose to Spacey being in a film. The "newcomers" to this, I guess you could call it, ensemble cast, Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine do a fine job, Pine more than Waltz, mostly due to screen time. Chris Pine's character has now effectively lost his mind in two filmss in 2014 (this and 'Stretch') and I have loved him in both roles. The film is side-splittingly funny at times. There's a rapid fire amount of jokes and lines, so you may not like or catch everything, but there is quite a few laughs to be had. Things take a turn once you get past the acting and general humor of the film. The story is pretty iffy at best and it really does feel like a haphazard way of cashing in on the surprise that was the first film. 'Horrible Bosses' had a certain charm about it, while this didn't have that special feeling to it. While the humor at times is hilarious, there's a lot of recycled stuff from the first film littered throughout. Some of it works, while other times it felt like they threw it in just to reference the first film. You could argue that this film, like '22 Jump Street,' are two of the more self aware comedies in recent memory. So referencing themselves is one way to get a laugh or keep a bit going. Both in '22 Jump Street,' and this, the callbacks to the first film were hit and miss as well and sometimes just felt really lazily done. The amount of action in this is actually surprising, as the first film kept it to a minimum, and they did alright with it. The chase scenes were fine and even the 'Oceans 11'-like planning scene was a cool touch. The music and score are alright, as with big comedies like these you've come to expect top pop tracks and popular rock to be heard spanning throughout. The overall look of the film is better too. They've expanded to a wider range of shots and locations that showcases California pretty decently. 

If you're looking for a comedy to go see over winter break, 'Horrible Bosses 2' is for you, IF you're a fan of the first film. If you didn't like the first film, the second installment isn't going to win you over. It's admittedly a step down from it's predecessor, but fans of the first film (or ones that can get into this one) will fall in love with the bickering and idiocy of the three leads again. The chemistry between Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis is reason enough to give this comedy a chance. The laughs are fewer, but there, and this film is pretty solid overall. Critics are really hitting this film hard, but if you're in the mood to go turn your brain off for a few hours and laugh, then 'Horrible Bosses 2' may be for you.

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