Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min.

Release Date: November 26th, 2014 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Sean Anders Actors: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Jonathan Banks

 


 

A

s with “22 Jump Street,” which possessed an obvious self-awareness to its repetitiveness and essential refashioning of the same basic concept, “Horrible Bosses 2” uses the extreme coincidence and unlikeliness of inept everymen re-resorting to criminal activities. They’re the most tactless crooks in town, but with a bit of brainstorming and substantial luck, they turn reckless scenarios into moderate successes. In actuality, all they really accomplish is staying out of prison after engaging in severe transgressions.

On the set of “Good Morning Los Angeles,” best friends Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) demonstrate their new invention, the Shower Buddy (a silly contraption that churns out shampoo and conditioner in between rinsing cycles from a bibcock attachment). When their company, Nick & Kurt & Dale Inc., is approached by billionaire investor Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) of Boulder Stream (a SkyMall-type catalog), a one-time development fee is offered for all rights to the device. But the trio of pals, having plenty of experience with bad bosses, is determined to remain in control of their destinies and not to fall back into the drudgery of being merely “cogs in the machine.”

Hanson offers an alternate plan, ordering 100,000 units to sell, while also organizing a $500,000 loan for the product to be manufactured locally. Nick, Kurt, and Dale think their version of the American Dream is finally becoming reality, and quickly set about renting a warehouse, purchasing equipment, and hiring staff. But when they miraculously complete the contract, they realize that Hanson is a cutthroat businessman only intent on destroying their business, poaching their patent, and demonstrating the ease in which the big guys can crush the little guys in matters of manipulation and underhanded commercial dealings.

When it comes to revenge, Nick, Kurt, and Dale can only think of breaking the law. So it’s not long before they’re devising a kidnapping scheme to ransom Hanson’s son Rex (Chris Pine) and procuring abduction advice from shady accomplice “Motherfucker” Jones (Jamie Foxx). Following a plot that manages to bring back many of the same elements from the original film, this sequel wisely reemploys Jennifer Aniston’s sex-crazed dentist Julia Harris and Kevin Spacey’s insult-spewing corporate conniver Dave Harken. The returning roles get many of the best lines and are scripted to be even more over-the-top than before. But, during many scenes, it’s evident that the actors, disgorging nonstop witty ramblings, are having far more fun than the audience – and this is never more apparent than in the outrageous blooper reel during the end credits.

The layered, long-winded conversations this time around are recited in such an interruptive routine that jokes are regularly lost in noise. The bickering still provides some humor, but it’s the twists on ransom plan conventions (or hilariously realistic perceptions of nonconformity to Hollywood actioners), high-octane car chases, and crashing through chain-link fences that prove most amusing. A few camera gimmicks, montages and flashbacks, and red herrings keep the movie slightly smarter than predictable, while Jonathan Banks as an authoritarian police detective (“These guys are pros!”) aids in varying the laughs. But the lead threesome is so moronic (exhibiting stupidity beyond that of Harry and Lloyd from “Dumb and Dumber”) that the suspension of disbelief is frequently tried; most of their foolhardy strategies might feel marginally reasonable if the roles weren’t idiotic to the point that they resemble Tex Avery cartoon characters.

– Mike Massie

  • 6/10