Just like the Wolf Pack of Galifianakis, Helms, and Cooper in the Hangover movies, this movies relies on the same Three Stooges formula of rapid talking, one sane guy, two dim-witted guys getting into crazy situations way over their heads, and then almost getting killed in the process.
Just like in the first Horrible Bosses movie, which thankfully you didn’t have to see to understand what’s happening here, we have the three BFF’s of sane and level-headed Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), and his two dim-bulb friends, Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis). The guys are featured on Good Morning L.A. because they’ve invented “The Shower Buddy”, a self-shampooing shower gizmo that could be worth millions, but they lack the capitol for their start-up business.
Enter super-rich magnate Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and his reckless playboy son, Rex (Chris Pine). They own a mammoth retail catalog business and Bert promises all the capitol they’ll need IF 100,000 units are made. The boys fulfill the deal, but Bert reneges at the last moment in order to buy up their company at a foreclosure! What a scum-bucket! Wishing revenge (and ransom money to save their business), the guys plan to kidnap Rex. But after a disastrous failed attempt that results in a bizarre encounter with Dale’s old sex-crazed boss (Jennifer Aniston), the guys decide to call it quits. BUT! Rex has other plans. He wants to be kidnapped and get a piece of the ransom money for himself. . . besides, it sounds like fun!
Getting help from their shifty and sometimes loopy “adviser”, Motherf**cker Jones (Jamie Foxx) and Nick’s currently incarcerated ex-boss (Kevin Spacey), the guys and Rex put into motion what seems a fool-proof plan to get $5 million from Bert, elude police capture, and solve their business woes. Sure it all looks great on paper, but as you can imagine, NOTHING goes according to their plans and things go south real fast. The ending is full of car chases, double-crosses, and a sex-addicted woman preying on the weak and innocent. Yup, it’s an R-rated movie, all right!
Written by John Morris and Sean Anders (who also directed), they took the first film as a template and wrote a fresh new approach, after the first film hiccuped in it’s humor. This one is non-stop humor that scores on every level from raunchy to Dumb and Dumber style. What makes it work is the rapid-fire dialogue of Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis. You really have to really listen to hear all the comedy gems being thrown out like a blender gone berserk. Their chemistry is undeniable. Even Foxx’s character has been given more to do here, and with great results.
Director Anders constructs each scene for maximum humor, allowing the actors to have their space to do what they do best. Although you’d think most of the dialogue is ad-libbed, it wasn’t (stay for the end credits gag reel). A side note: in the bar scene, the three Horrible Bosses guys were going to leave as the three Hangover guys enter to get advice from Jamie Foxx’s character.
Unfortunately, they all wanted too much money for that one quick cameo, so it was never shot. Drat!! That would’ve funny!
9 to 5 (1980)
Three guys taking revenge on their boss? How about three gals taking revenge on their boss, and one of them is a county-western singing superstar? Yup, 9 to 5 is the original Horrible Bosses, with a empowered female theme that sparked a feminist movement in this county. Y’see? Film can cause a social impact!
Three superstars, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda star in this wildly successful feminist comedy about a tyrannical and misogynist boss (Dabney Coleman) who gets his just desserts after treating his female employees like objects, instead of equals. Judy Bernly (Fonda) is the newly divorced gal who’s is looking for work after years of being a housewife. She finds works at Consolidated Companies with the help of feisty senior office supervisor, Violet Newstead (Tomlin).
Violet, we learn, bows and scrapes (with gritted teeth) at the voice of her boss, Franklin Hart, jr (Coleman), only because she’s in line (she thinks) for a huge promotion. And then there’s Hart’s buxom secretary, Doralee Rhodes (Parton), a sweet, but naive Texas gal who is constantly shunning Hart’s lecherous advances. These three women bond over Hart’s lascivious ways and unite to keep each other strong, but that strength is shattered when Violet thinks she’s accidentally poisoned and killed Hart!
Hart catches on and, after threatening to imprison the gals, the girls take drastic action and kidnap Hart; making him a prisoner in his own home. Meanwhile, they run the office, faking Hart’s signature and turning the entire workplace into a happy, productive goldmine that causes Mr. Tinsworthy (Sterling Hayden), the Chairman of the Board, to fly down to see what’s happening.
In the end, Hart is sent away to the Amazon for his “brilliance in what he did at the office” and each girl gets to have a happy life. Written by Patricia Resnick and Colin Higgins (who also directed), this movie was a monster hit! Ginormous box office receipts, a TV series, the catchy theme song made Dolly millions, and the Broadway musical is still going strong. Yeah, the movie’s got everything, even a hilarious pot-induced revenge “dream sequence”! Sure it’s a major weapon that shows the downtrodden working women in the man’s world, but hey, it’s also a savvy comedy with three brilliant comediennes. Time to watch it again!