REVIEW WRITTEN BY NATHAN LERNER/For 21st Century Media
In the 2011 comedy, “Horrible Bosses,” each of the co-protagonists was encumbered with an employer, who-you guessed it-was horrible. Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) was an office drone, Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudekis) managed a chemical plant, while Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) worked for dentist, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). The latter, a happily married man, was being persistently pressured by his boss for a quick sexual fling.
That film posits that the three Los Angelenos couldn’t abate their problems by simply quitting their respective jobs. Instead, they consult Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx), a heavily tattooed ex-con who wears sunglasses indoors. He goads them into concocting a triple homicide scheme. Of course, it ends up being a total botch job.
This time around, the threesome have abandoned their careers as wage slaves to pursue entrepreneurial success together. Their latest harebrained idea is launch a start-up company and manufacture so-called Shower Buddies. The new item will preload soap into the showerhead.
They catch a break, when a local morning television show gives them air time on one of their segments. When asked how interested parties can contact them, their ineptitude becomes immediately apparent. The knuckleheads indicate that the website for their fledging company is NickKurtDale.com. They are oblivious to the fact that a pronunciation of the website’s name sounds like an offensive racist epithet.
Surprisingly, despite a disastrous on air performance, the boys are contacted by Burt Hanson (Christoph Waltz), who owns a mega-successful business empire. He feigns admiration for the trio’s plucky entrepreneurial spirit. Burt then agrees to buy and distribute the product. It never occurs to these nitwits to sign a contract with Hanson or obtain any sort of deposit from him on the large advance order .
Predictably, Burt has recognized the naiveté of the three schnooks and decided to exploit it to his advantage. He never intended to purchase the Shower Buddies from them. Burt has calculated that they would have to take out a bridge loan to manufacture the items. He intuits that, without his crucial patronage, they would be unable to pay off the bank and be forced to declare bankruptcy. Then, Burt can swoop in and purchase the Shower Buddies for proverbial pennies on the dollars.
The film’s plotline involves Burt’s alienated son, Rex (Chris Pine). He coerces the threesome into staging a faux kidnap and then demanding ransom from his dad. Facing financial ruin, the habitual bunglers capitulate to his demand that they engage in this felonious charade.
Bateman, Sudekis, and Day have perfected their hyperfrentetic schtick. However, director/co-screenwriter, Sean Anders, and his cohort, John Francis Daley, have fashioned a vile vehicle, which is crude, inane and tasteless, without being funny. It panders to racist, homophobic, and misogynistic sensibilities.
Jennifer Aniston reprises her sex crazed character, who is an ambulatory compendium of fetishes. The film defines her character as being not merely promiscuous, but suffering from an addiction. So, what’s next for the screenwriting team of Anders and Daley? Are they working on a comedic script that features drug and alcohol addicts, played for cheap laughs?
Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey are both back as the same characters that they portrayed in the precursor film. That means that “Horrible Bosses 2” has a cast, which has collectively garnered five Academy Awards. Spacey won a pair for “American Beauty” and “The Usual Suspects.” Waltz earned a pair for his supporting actor roles in “Inglorious Basterds,” then “Django Unchained.” Foxx scored one for “Ray.” Has there ever been a film this bad with a cast that had collected a quintet of gold statuettes? I think not.
“Horrible Bosses 2”: *1/2 R (for strong crude sexual content and language throughout) 108 minutes
Film critic Nathan Lerner sees more than 200 feature films a year. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.