Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2: A Tediously Tiresome Thanksgiving Turkey


(Dir. Sean Anders, 2014)

Okay, so yeah, the first film was a fluke – a one-off throwaway that was just funny enough to recommend. But the sequel, opening everywhere today, is a tiresome rehash that wears out its welcome before it even hits the 10 minute mark.

However, up to that point, with its inspired use of the Clash’s cover of Eddy Grant’s “Police on My Back” to take us into a crudely amusing opening scene featuring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudekis promoting their new invention, a bathroom accessory named “The Shower Buddy,” on a morning TV talk show, the movie seems like it could possibly match the original.

But this misguided mash-up of 9 TO 5, which they reference several times so it’s okay to steal from I guess, and BACHELOR PARTY goes downhill fast from there once its incredibly uninvolving and annoyingly familiar plot kicks in.

This time, our returning comedy trio trying to strike out as their own bosses gets screwed over by Christoph Waltz (seemingly loving slumming it here) and Chris Pine (Captain Kirk from the J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK re-imaginings) as a father-son pair of wealthy, conniving corporate investors who steal the product and re-name it “The Shower Pal” (“That’s a better name, too,” says Sudekis).

So Bateman, Day, and Sudekis plan to kidnap Pine and collect ransom from Waltz, but guess what? Things don’t go down as smoothly as they hope.

In lame attempts to rekindle the comically criminal shenanigans of the first time around, the bickering buffoons visit Kevin Spacey, reprising his role as one of the horrible bosses, in jail for advice; Jamie Foxx, reprising his role as “Motherfucker Jones” in the same seedy bar for more contrived consultation; and Jennifer Aniston, reprising her role as a sex-addicted dentist, who has the most regrettably creepy lines to spout throughout this mess.

The so self consciously twisted scenarios the fellows get tied up in, via the screenplay co-written by director Anders and creative partner John Morris (who also both co-wrote the currently playing DUMB AND DUMBER TO), just go in circles with a clear lack of momentum.

These guys can be very funny - the stressed out Day and the all too smug Sudekis play off each other effortlessly while Bateman deadpans some choice one-liners - and amid their wacky scrapes I chuckled maybe a dozen times, but there was nothing resembling a big genuine laugh to be found.

If you stitched together these guys’ individual appearances on late night TV talk shows into a feature length 90 minutes or so it would be much funnier than this. Especially as it wouldn’t have the tired as hell kidnapping tropes (code name gags ‘n all) that all fall horribly flat here.

And there’s also the unfortunate and badly timed (because of the Cosby controversy) rape jokes that Aniston’s character, puts forth that left a disgusting taste in my mouth. As well, it’s weird that Pine puts forth some dramatic acting about dealing with his dad Waltz not loving him – in what movie does he think he’s in?

It would be a critical cliché to say that HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 is a cinematic turkey delivered just in time for Thanksgiving, but if they’re going to so blatantly trot out such a lame retread, then so am I.

More later...

No comments: