Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seth Gordon: Weakness in the Workplace (Horrible Bosses)

Charlie Day, Jasons Sudeikis and Bateman, Horrible Bosses, New Line Cinema 2011.

American comedy has sadly become victim to a collusion of pandering studios, gross out humor and low audience expectation. Comedy that doesn't insult viewer intelligence is left to Woody Allen and the Farrelly Brothers. At least the Farrellys have enough wit to use scatology in context, not just as a cop out. Everybody wants another Hangover, simplistic idiocy which may have a few chuckles, but nothing you'll take to your grave.

And so the Summer trajectory of huge wastes of time and money persists with Seth Gordon's Horrible Bosses, a mostly akward and unfunny movie which could have been something great. A promising idea is wasted with a mediocre script and lackluster direction, which is a shame because the cast is so ready to cut loose in a naughty un-P.C. flick. It all comes down to the captain of the ship: Gordon previously helmed the dismal rom-com Four Christmases, and here drags it all together D.O.A. He should take lessons from Jake Kasdan, who with The T.V. Set and Bad Teacher, is showing the youngsters how to shape an intelligent, edgy satire within bureaucratic constraints.

Recent comedy stalwarts Jasons Bateman and Sudeikis are joined by t.v. comedic actor Charlie Day as three schlubs we don't give a crap about who want to off their bosses: a wicked Kevin Spacey, delicious Jennifer Aniston and over the top, akward Colin Farrell. In between are a few laughs, but the overall effect is boredom. Nothing is pulling us in, making us care then laugh.

What we take away is Spacey hamming it up and stealing the film, making us realize how much we miss him, and Jamie Foxx having more fun than anyone in an extended cameo. Aniston looks great, has her usual charm but plays such a one dimensional and offensive misogynist wish fulfillment stereotype that it makes one cringe.

There will undoubtedly be many more shitty comedies before the season is over, but do yourself a favor and see Tom Hanks' Larry Crowne or Chris Weitz's A Better Life, two imperfect but sublime films which are better than anything else at your local cineplex.

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