“Horrible Bosses 2” is the latest example of how Hollywood executives are so convinced moviegoers will blindly see a sequel that there is no reason to make the follow-up product good. This kind of asinine offering is just the result of an uninspired effort to milk a few dollars out of the good feelings generated by the original movie.
Every good thing director Seth Gordon did with the original film — making an edgy comedy that didn’t lapse into being gross — has been ignored by No. 2 director Sean Anders (who gets double blame because he is one of the writers). He sloppily put together a string of old and decrepit gags that stumble to a predictable ending.
The only major similarity between the original film and the sequel is that Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day reprise their roles as Nick, Kurt and Dale. Instead of having to deal with horrible bosses — as the name suggests — the tree stooges find themselves in a financial crunch when they start their own business.
Their solution is to kidnap the son (Chris Pine) of the man (Christoph Waltz) who put them in the financial bind. Their illegal tendencies were entertaining the first time around, but they smack of desperation this time. The kidnapping ploy is such an over-used idea that the film starts on shaky ground and hits an earthquake of stupidity and mediocrity with each step.
Bateman is reduced to being the straight man as he tries to give this cockamamie plot some meaning. Even an actor as good as Bateman can’t help a story that only works in the most absurd of conditions. Who starts a business without a contract for a large order?
Sudeikis seems lost and Day does nothing but shout his dialogue. Louder isn’t funnier, it just makes it easier to hear the juvenile dialogue over the sound of this dud hitting the ground.
Even Jennifer Aniston’s sex-obsessed character is more pathetic than funny. It’s lucky she has all that “Friends” money as this may bring her career to a stop.
The only good thing is Jamie Foxx, who plays the adviser to the law-breaking buddies. This would have been a far better movie had the focus been his character.
But he’s not the center of attention, which leaves “Horrible Bosses 2” a mess. Maybe a better director could have stretched the comedy to get the most out of jokes like the three guys communicating with walky-talkies while in the same room. Or, found a way to use the talents of Kevin Spacey for more than the rants of a prison inmate.
At the least, a different writer and director might have found a way to make the sequel come closer to the design of the original movie. Anything would have been better.
If you don’t need a comedy to be funny, entertaining or fun then “Horrible Bosses 2’ is for you.