Horrible Bosses 2 Review

Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis and Jason BatemanAs we head into awards season, we get a movie with three Academy Award winners on board, but this one’s not destined for awards glory.

What’s It About? The original saw three men – Nick (Jason Bateman) Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) plot to kill their respective bosses, Strangers on a Train-style. With mixed success they return, with more of the original cast in tow, but this time they’re joined by Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine as a billionaire businessman and his spoilt son.

Tired of their ‘horrible’ bosses, the three men invent a new gadget and become their own boss, but are soon back on the path of revenge when the first business they encounter cancels a massive order. Their attempts to kidnap the boss’s son (unsurprisingly) don’t all go to plan.

Verdict Horrible Bosses came out in 2011 to a mixed but on the whole positive reception, though it’s fair to say this isn’t exactly the most highly anticipated sequel of the year.

Comedy sequels are a difficult thing. It’s always hard to recapture the same sense of humour and still feel fresh, especially when the plot, in its essence, is very similar.

22 Jump Street earlier this year handled this brilliantly. It was very knowing in dealing with the concept of it being a sequel, though the silliness of the movie let it get away with this in a way not afforded to most comedies. The Hangover Part II was very much on the other end of the spectrum, simply repeating the beats of the first movie but with less success.

Horrible Bosses 2 is in the latter camp, though that is perhaps a little harsh on it. The original was passable – though probably not as Chris Pine in Horrible Bosses 2good as many people remember it.  There are certainly similar beats, but this doesn’t copy the original’s formula quite as lazily as the Hangover Part II did.

Horrible Bosses 2 is funnier than the original. The unnecessary rape jokes thankfully don’t make a return here, though it’s still not the most pro-feminist movie you’ll see this year. The chemistry between the three leads is good, and it’s their charisma and the fact they really do seem to be trying their best that sees this film get a pass.  It seems like most of the funniest moments come from these actors improvising rather than a solid gold script.

With the first film it was the supporting characters that really made it worth watching, and that is the case again here, despite Bateman being as reliable as ever, and Day suitably energetic.

Jamie Foxx’s role is slightly expanded, and whilst Jennifer Aniston’s role is included purely so she’s in the film as opposed to for storyline reasons, the inclusion of both improves the film. It is Chris Pine, though, who is the standout turn here.  Though not his first comedy role, he’s best known for action roles recently, so it really is fun to have him fully commit to this cocky role.  He’s lively, dislikeable, endearing and funny in equal measure. Waltz isn’t really given enough screen-time to make as much of an impression.

With some lazy for-the-money sequels, it really feels like nobody’s hearts are in it, but without exception the cast here do deliver, and elevate this film above what was probably there on paper. Ultimately, it feels like a series of improv scenes and situations as opposed to a really tight movie, perhaps in part due to the script rewrites that took place when Sean Anders came on board to direct.

Final Words: Though far from one of the funniest films of the year, fans of the first movie won’t be disappointed by this more-than-adequate sequel. Supporting turns, especially Chris Pine, make this a watchable comedy, though it would be surprising if even diehard fans will be clamouring for a sequel after this.

Horrible Bosses is out in the UK on Friday November 28 2014.

We attended a Heineken Star Screening of Horrible Bosses 2 at Hackney Picturehouse as part of their ‘Open Your City’ campaign to get people to open and explore London – find out more at http://openyourcity.heineken.com