Sunday, July 10, 2011

Horrible Bosses (Warner Bros. Pictures)

By Harry Forbes

“Horrible Bosses” is a generally amusing albeit potty-mouthed comedy about three hapless friends – a corporate executive on the rise (Jason Bateman), an accountant (Jason Sudeikis) and a dental assistant (Charlie Day) --who are brothers in suffering under the sadistic thumbs of their respective bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston).

Under the guidance of a shady con artist whom the three mistake for a hitman (a priceless Jamie Foxx), they ultimately hatch a plan to kill each other’s bosses, a la “Strangers on a Train.” But this being a comedy, it isn’t long before things go terribly awry.

While the premise (by Michael Maarkowitz) is somewhat funnier than the execution and Markowitz and John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein’s script could use more genuine wit, many of the gags are hilarious, and the cast is so good, they help smooth over the rough patches.

The two Jasons bear a physical resemblance, but their characters are well contrasted: Bateman, the straight corporate type, appalled as the three find themselves in deeper and deeper hot water, and Sudeikis, a ladies’ man whose libido keeps getting in the way. The manic Day is their short-fused, none-too-bright sidekick.

Aniston is all but unrecognizable as the randy dentist with the hots for her assistant (Day). If she wanted a change of pace from her nice-girl image, she’s got it here, and she carries it off. Farrell, too, has a radical makeover as Sudeikis’ sleazy, druggy boss who takes over the family business when his nice-guy father (Donald Sutherland in a brief cameo) suddenly dies. And Spacey’s at his enjoyably nastiest as Bateman’s sadistic boss.

The plot has a couple of neat twists, adding to the raunchy fun.

(This film has been rated R by the MPAA for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug material.)

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