Impotent Formula, by Rudie Obias
While the new comedy sequel Horrible Bosses 2 doesn’t lack any chemistry with its all-star cast – including the trio from the original (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis), and its new additions with Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz – it just seems that its screenwriters and director have no idea what to do with that electric and palpable chemistry. It was a big reason why the first Horrible Bosses didn’t connect with me and it’s still a reason why its sequel just lies there with its overcomplicated plot and muddled comedy.
Horrible Bosses 2 picks up a few years after the first film. Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day), and Kurt (Sudeikis) go into business for themselves, as they launch a new consumer product into the market with the Shower Buddy. The trio are looking for funding and distribution. That’s when they meet with Pine’s Rex Hanson, the son of a very successful billionaire, who wants to buy the Shower Buddy for $3 million. Instead of cashing in, the trio bets on themselves and turns down his offer, only to have Rex’s father Burt Hanson (Waltz) step in to place a hefty order and distribution rights for the Shower Buddy.
Nick, Dale, and Kurt are pretty pleased with the direction of things, but when Burt cancels his order to screw over the new company for his own gain, the trio realize they’ve been duped and plot a plan to kidnap Rex and extort Burt for millions. And just when you think that a comedy can’t handle another twist, Rex makes a Switcheroo and stages his own kidnapping, so he can also screw over his father.
Despite the surprising amount of twist and turns in Horrible Bosses 2, it’s not enough to actually tell a good story and sustain character development. I found myself asking whether or not we’re supposed to be rooting for Nick, Dale, and Kurt throughout the whole movie, which is the same problem I had with the first film. These are terrible people in terrible situations and in both movies I found myself siding with their “horrible bosses,” the ostensible villains of the film.
The reason why Nick, Dale, and Kurt continuously get into situations like these is because they are idiots, but they’re not as lovable and enduring as, say, Harry and Lloyd in the Dumb & Dumber movies or Mac and Teddy in the new comedy Neighbors. They’re mean-spirited, wishy-washy assholes whom you just want nothing to do with. I found myself thinking about It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, not only because Charlie Day is in both. A lot has to do with the aim for likability. Nick, Dale, and Kurt are always hesitant to get involved and get their hands dirty, while Mac, Dennis, Charlie, and Sweet Dee have no problem going balls deep into shitty situations, and let the comedy stem from that. Watching terrible people be passive is simply not funny.
Honestly, Horrible Bosses 2 feels like a very good looking and slick TV show, and the fact that it’s full of TV actors doesn’t help. In fact, where the film shines is with its movie stars like Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, and Jamie Foxx (which is a strange reunion for the Django Unchained stars), who reprises his role as Motherfucker Jones. The film only works when these actors are onscreen. Jennifer Aniston’s sex-crazed dentist is more of the same from the first film, only more rapey. The big standout in the film is Chris Pine, who plays well in the comedy sandbox. He’s charming and physical, and not afraid to get dirty. In fact, unlike Nick, Dale, and Kurt, Chris Pine is not afraid to go for it for big laughs.
Simply put, Horrible Bosses 2, like its predecessor, is just not funny, and I can’t think of anything worst than an unfunny comedy. It’s the type of comedy where the blooper reel at the end of the film is funnier and more charming than the actual movie itself. And since the blooper reel will make its way to YouTube in about six months, I’d wait until then and not go to the theater for this one. There are better movies to share with your family during Thanksgiving, like Interstellar or The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and if you’re looking for comedy, Dumb & Dumber To is still in the mix. Horrible Bosses 2 is just too horrible.