Film

Your boss has nothing on ‘Horrible Bosses’

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How you gonna complain about Jennifer Aniston chewing on your ear?

If you’re going to make a comedy about three friends conspiring to commit multiple murders, you really ought to be prepared to go dark. The main problem with Horrible Bosses is not that it isn’t funny (although it offers only sporadic, weak laughs) but that it’s far too timid, absolving its main characters of essentially all responsibility for their immoral actions and shying away from the black humor inherent in the premise. It’s possible to make a very funny and disturbing movie about murder, but Bosses is more interested in giving its audience friendly, likable would-be killers who never actually do anything bad.

The Details

Horrible Bosses
Two stars
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day.
Directed by Seth Gordon.
Rated R. Opens Friday.

Stars Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day are bland and nearly interchangeable as the three friends who want their monstrous bosses dead, and while Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston are clearly having a good time playing truly evil human beings, their one-note characters can’t carry the whole movie. For about an hour, Bosses remains stuck in first gear, with the main characters talking in circles about what they might or might not do to get out of their career predicaments. And when the plot finally swings into action, director Seth Gordon and the three screenwriters consistently pull back from anything daring or complicated. The result is a movie afraid to follow through on its nasty premise, leaving just a handful of mildly amusing jokes and a sense of lost potential.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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