Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jason Bateman
One of those oddball comedy sequels, Horrible Bosses 2 fares better than, say, Weekend at Bernie’s 2 or the even more ill-advised Caddyshack 2. The further misadventures of Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) definitely have the laughs, even as the movie feels more forced than its predecessor. The trio decide to branch out on their own and be their own bosses, when they are screwed over by billionaire Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz). To make matters worse, the criminal disaster-minds kidnap Burt’s son, Rex (a very game, very fun Chris Pine), who takes over the illegal enterprise and ups the ante to $5 million. The script shoehorns in the trio’s former horrible bosses—sex-addicted dentist Julia (Jennifer Aniston) and incarcerated a-hole Dave (Kevin Spacey), though Colin Farrell’s Bobby is still dead—and also includes Jamie Foxx’s mysterious, expletive-named hitman. It probably should have brought in more fresh faces like Waltz and Pine, but at least it has Jonathan Bank (“Breaking Bad”’s Mike Ehrmantraut) as a gruff police detective.
It’s not hard to imagine critics of the comedy’s first appearance crying foul at this successor. One advantage to The Hangover is the continued guidance of Todd Phillips. Horrible Bosses 2 swapped out original director Seth Gordon (the excellent King of Kong) and its screenwriting trio for the guys behind We’re the Millers and Sex Drive. The gags suffer as a result. The first movie wasn’t the highbrow comedy of Woody Allen, but the sequel feels like it’s naughty just to be naughty. Jokes are more offensive, and gags grosser without actually being funny. Fortunately, the chemistry between Bateman, Sudeikis and Day rivals that of the mega-successful Hangover trio and can extract some humor from some of the more unfortunate jokes. Bateman has solidified his spot as one of the best straight men in the biz, while Sudeikis (when can we get a Fletch remake starring our favorite, potential new Chevy Chase?) and Day’s stars continue to rise.
November has not been terribly kind to comedy fans. Neither the long-awaited Dumb and Dumber To nor this not-quite-clamored-for sequel threatens to bust anyone’s gut, though, in a year or so, either might tickle a few funny bones for free when they are in constant rotation on FX.