In Jennifer Aniston's career since Friends, she's been box office poison. Regardless of whether or not you like her or think she's any good acting, her films haven't done well at all. From Management to The Bounty Hunter to The Switch to the cream of the crap Just Go With It...she seems to be the common denominator in bad movies. That is until now.
So how did she overcome this streak. Well, she was smart enough to star in a black comedy with Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis (NBC's SNL, Hall Pass) and the hilarious Charlie Day (FX's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Going the Distance). That is a comedy dream team that anyone would be stupid to walk away from and they deliver on all angels.
What makes the film even better is that it's directed by Seth Gordon. Now you may not know his name but he's already made some incredible films. The reason why he's probably unknown is because his former films are documentaries namely Freakonomics and the absolutely amazing film The King of Kong. Plus he's one of the creative minds behind shows like The Office, Community and Parks and Recreation.
Gordon did the correct thing to do with an ensemble cast like this; he allowed them to do whatever they wanted. You can tell by the outtakes that pepper the end credits. Even Aniston is very funny as the sexually harassing dentist, although she's clearly the weakest link. The film is primarily Bateman, Sudeikis and Day doing a modern version of The Three Stooges as they bumble their way through a plot to kill each other's bosses. If you think that's a straight-up ripoff of Strangers on a Train, don't worry because it's called out on it in the actual movie by Jamie Foxx's character...who has a name I can't repeat in this review.
The first act of the film is clunky and weak. It sets up the characters in stilted dialogue and shows us the titular horrible bosses that are so horrible they come across as unbelievable. But luckily this doesn't last long and once we're in the throws of the film it gets very funny, very quickly. Horrible Bosses also does something that most comedies have a very hard time doing and that is to stay funny all the way up until the end. The way Hollywood comedies have been playing out is a really funny beginning, a good middle and a poor end. Horrible Bosses seems to be completely the other way around and it works very well for it.
There's a chance black comedy isn't your cup of tea or that Aniston's rapey, foul language is too "un-Rachel" for you. But if you heed the R rating and enjoy fast, improvised acting that also keeps you in a state of suspense, this is THE summer comedy for you since it's anything BUT horrible.
Horrible Bosses (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: A-