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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Horrible Bosses 2 2014 * * 1/2 Stars

Horrible Bosses 2Director: Sean Anders
Year: 2014
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston

In most of his movies, Jason Bateman has always excelled as a fast-talking, speak easy kind of comedic actor. Unfortunately, a lot of his work is saddled with lousy scripts or in the case of Horrible Bosses 2, almost no script at all. Bateman, his co-stars (Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day), and other assorted cast members, sprint through "Bosses 2" saying whatever pops into their dainty little heads. To say that this raunchy sequel is tainted with improvisation overload is a complete understatement. Director Sean Anders basically lets the cameras roll and doesn't look back. I'm thinking someone should have walked up to him and whispered "cut". Nudge, nudge.

Anyway, with a strong cast, almost no segway from the inception of the first Horrible Bosses flick (from 2011), and a sex-addicted character in Jennifer Aniston who says, "have you ever done it in a dentist's chair?" (hey Jen, we hardly knew ya), Horrible Bosses 2 finds our three fearless leaders (if you can call them that) trying to sell their subpar, inventive product (the quote unquote "shower buddy"). Nick Hendricks (Bateman), Dale Arbus (Charlie Day), and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) from the first film have moved on and now they want to make a fortune by working for themselves. As the proceedings begin, these guys show up on Good Morning Los Angeles to promote their shower gadget and then try to sell 150,000 units to a slimy investor named Burt Hanson (an underutilized Christoph Waltz). When Hanson accepts the offer to buy said product, he then reneges on his decision forcing the trio of bumbling knuckleheads to kidnap his whiny son (Chris Pine who surprisingly kills it as Rex Hanson). Things to watch for in "2's" 108 minute running time: an outrageous car chase that has a vehicle burning rubber with a torn fence encased around it (I'm not kidding) and a shocking sex scene that gives new meaning to the term video surveillance (just think 1993's dud, Sliver).

Plot and storytelling aspects aside, the out of the box casting for these Horrible Bosses movies has always fascinated me. I mean where else can you see three Oscar winners (Jamie Foxx, Waltz, and Kevin Spacey), a Golden Globe winner, and an Emmy award winner strut their stuff in a pair of critically panned (not to mention frequently inappropriate) R rated comedies. If you've seen the trailers for this sequel to 2011's highly successful original, you've probably figured out that every star (and co-star) is returning along with a few celebrated additions. That makes "Bosses 2's" helping of strap-on innuendo, underage fascination, and suggestively coarse language much more over the top. Lord help us!

Now as I took in a midday viewing of Horrible Bosses 2, I made the following observations (good and bad): 1. why would Christoph Waltz, a double Oscar winner, take on such a nothing role as the film's woefully underdeveloped, arch villain? 2. I never thought I'd say this but Chris Pine, an actor who has never done anything comedic, outshines everyone in the laughs department. There are a couple of scenes where he brazenly harms himself in a very violent way (or as the Sudeikis character says, he quote unquote "Fight Clubs himself"). Pine's a hoot and I think he might have found his niche here as opposed to being the equivalent of bland green beans via the new Jack Ryan. 3. In case you aren't familiar with the law, I'll lay it out for you: kidnapping (or "kidnaping" if you've already viewed this thing) is punishable up to possibly a sentence of life in prison. To the characters in "Bosses 2", it all seems like one big joke. I mean, I know it's a comedy but no one on screen takes any types of repercussions seriously. Tack on murder too. Someone gets shot towards the flick's conclusion and the three Dodo bird best friends still manage to crack jokes. Gimme a break!

Overall, despite being about as predictable and standardized as any sequel has a right to be, I can still name hundreds of them that are worse than Horrible Bosses 2. This November release is putrid, crass, and off-putting but will at times, actually make you laugh out loud. And to the critics who seem easily offended by its vulgar themes, I got one thing to say: lighten up people! It's only a movie for crying out loud. Bottom line: Horrible Bosses 2 ain't no classic. It will however, provide you with some nervous, guilty giggles. It's entertaining to a fault and far from being "horrible".

Of note: As I've just mentioned, the movie I've just reviewed isn't a bad one but the end credits are. I mean, it seems that every Jason Sudeikis outing these days has to have outtakes completely tacked on. The ones in Horrible Bosses 2 are exceptionally stale and just plain unnecessary. Skip them and just exit the theater. Trust me.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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