On Friday night, I had the rare occasion to slip out of the house and see a film on its opening night. Normally, new releases slip into the background of my consciousness following that opening weekend. I may slip out to catch a matinee, but most of the time these films don’t reappear on my radar until they work up to the top of the Netflix queue.
For some reason, the trailers and commercials for “Horrible Bosses” spoke to me and got me into a seat. It’s the type of film where you enter the theater with some level of discomfort and trepidation.
1. If you have to pay for a sitter, the cost of entertainment starts to rise and your expectations rise markedly.
2. When seeing a comedy, you fear that you’ve seen “all the good parts” in the trailers and commercials.
I can say that “Horrible Bosses” exceeded my expectations. The strength of the ensemble cast was one of the draws to this one. Spacey, Bateman, the rising stars of Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis and, of course, a new turn from Jennifer Aniston.
Now, I know everyone read the stuff about the “raunchy” side of Aniston and ate up the rumors about possibly seeing a lot of skin. I just have to ask. Since they kept the on-set temperature at “Friends” seemingly at Arctic levels, can’t you just let your imagination do some work?
But, yes, you get the “dirty” talk that you’re not finding on “Friends.” What else is there to say?
I quote an old Jethro Tull song to put it in perspective. “Nice girl, but her bad girl’s better …” (Kissing Willie from the “Rock Island” album). You shan’t be disappointed.
Of course, there’s an 800-pound gorilla in the room. And the movie even makes fun of it. We just can’t believe that there’s a problem with being harassed by Jennifer Aniston. It just doesn’t compute. But it’s a movie. You have to roll with it.
I mean, you’ve already doled out money to enter the theater for a film about three guys creating a pact to kill their bosses. You may bitch about your jobs, but there’s no action plan to defeat the higher-ups. So, why not do the wink and nod about Aniston’s aggressiveness and enjoy that she’s throwing you a change-up?
I laughed far more consistently throughout the film than I expected. There’s a comfort in the language and flow between Bateman, Day and Sudeikis that films that the bar chats you have with buddies or that I have the pleasure of doing for hours each week on the radio. You catch the big lines delivered in the bar, cab or police car scenes, but there’s also genius in the stuff being muttered under their collective breath. Many bonus one-liners are there if you can make them out through the laughter.
“It’s from a movie” will be one of the summer’s big catchphrases.
You can tell that Spacey thoroughly enjoyed his part as the “a$$****” boss. There were some pieces of his “American Beauty” character, Lester Burnham, in this performance. It’s that part of the character when Lester flips his mentality and starts to say what crosses his mind. You get those snarky lines and cock-sure delivery with a smirk.
And the praise has been heaped upon Jamie Foxx for his turn as “Murder Consultant” MF Jones. Foxx has shown fantastic range in recent years. It’s always fun to see him put back on the silly comedy cap.
My only negative takeaway from the film was the coke fiend role played by Colin Farrell as Jason Sudeikis’ boss. His accent slips in and out and there’s not much to it. That part of the film left me wanting. The role just didn’t have much depth to it. Farrell gets out a couple top-notch one-liners and elicits a gasp or two, but the character doesn’t have the resonance of the other “villains.”
It’s a minor issue. You spend the bulk of the film enjoying the verbal sparring, the over the top performances from Spacey and Aniston and, of course, hoping for more Aniston.
Put it on the shelf with “The Hangover” and “Office Space.” This is bound to be a cult classic.