I mean I’m loving the Jason Bateman era, but what ever happened to his sister Justine?
“Horrible Bosses 2” is the follow up to the surprise comedy hit that put Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day together as men fed up with the awful people in charge of their jobs. This time the three of them are striking out on their own meaning the only horrible bosses they have to blame now are themselves. Yet somehow, once again, they eventually find themselves bumbling through a criminal undertaking to fix their mistakes in much the same way as the first movie. Because after all that’s just how sequels work. So is there enough left in the conceptual tank to make another go around worth the price of admission? Well, maybe at the dollar theater.
So here’s the good news, this cast still works really well together. The chemistry is perfect and you can tell Sudeikis, Day and Bateman are having a blast. There is a lot of this movie that is really funny and I think the lion’s share of the credit goes to the way those 3 guys play off of each other, and the freedom they are given here to improvise and fool around. Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey also reprise their roles in extended cameos that I think work just fine for what they are intended for. But the real surprise in this flick is Chris Pine, who I thought was absolutely wonderful. His take on the arrogant and self possessed rich kid takes some really interesting twists and turns and he sells them all. There were a couple moments here where I was like, “wait a second, is he doing actual acting in this movie?” And yes he was, and yes it worked. Whatever the case, my respect level for Pine, and his comedic/dramatic abilities just went up a couple notches. I should also mention to stick around for the outtakes over the credits which once again show how much fun this group was having together.
Of course theres a difference between just having a good time goofing off with friends and actually making a good movie. and that’s where things fall apart. There just isn’t any substance or plot here to keep you engaged beyond the laughs. At least in the first you felt like there was a cohesive underlying structure that held the movie together, here the facade doesn’t quite hold up as well, meaning the difference between a movie that stays with you and one that just passes quickly once the laughs die down. It’s not like I’m asking for my comedy to go “Interstellar” on me or anything (although Christopher Nolan’s Horrible Bosses 3 might just be amazing) I just want something solid to hang my hat on when the credits role, beyond the humor. And, of course, even much of the humor will depend on your level of comfort with the “raunch com” style of pushing past boundaries and crossing lines every chance they get.
At the end of the day, Horrible Bosses 2 is a funny reunion without much substance or purpose beyond the laughter. Even the great chemistry of the original and the wonderful addition of Chris Pine is only enough to bring this hollow comedy up to a self employed C+