Horrible Bosses was a huge hit. In fact, it has the distinction of being the highest grossing black comedy of all time (having unseated War of the Roses, breaking a 21 year record). Naturally, there was going to be a sequel. Normally, I sour on comedy sequels, but it actually makes sense for this one to exist. The original film doesn’t end with the characters learning anything more than “crime does pay,” so why wouldn’t they try again?
Regardless, Horrible Bosses 2 doesn’t need to exist, but it is still worth watching. A lot of the jokes do fall flat. Some are too stupid to match the material, and many actually come off as dated (it opens with a gag that was hilarious … back when it appeared in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) but it never reaches an offensive level. When the jokes do work, they work well, and the cast is earnest and enthusiastic enough to fill in the gaps. It’s classic sequelitis; a disease that while irritating, is rarely deadly.
Our heroes follow the same dynamic as before: Charlie Day is spasmodic and a bit dumb, Jason Sudeikis is an incorrigible womanizer, also kind of dumb, and Jason Bateman is the self-appointed voice of reason who, despite how highly he regards himself, is also dumb. The three of them have formed a poorly named company based around a slightly less poorly named shower device, which they hope will make them enough dough to avoid ever having another boss. They sure do hate bosses. They are eventually screwed over by a potential distributor played by a criminally underused Christoph Waltz. One thing leads another and now they’re kidnapping his son, (a show-stealing Chris Pine). Yada-yada-yoda, and then a movie happens.
As the story chugs along we cross paths with a few familiar faces from the original. Jaime Foxx is back as Mother****er Jones and isn’t given much to do (Jones seems to have gotten dumber too). Kevin Spacey returns in his original boss role, only it’s much smaller, and rather poorly written, but he manages to elevate it with his energy. Jennifer Aniston’s Dr. Harris is the only returning secondary character who really works, and some of the stuff that comes out of her mouth is so over-the-top filthy it elicits groans as well as laughter (and if you stick around for the blooper reel, you can see Aniston struggle with being so crass. It’s kind of wonderful).
Sean Anders has taken over directing and writing duties in this second entry and brings to it his increasingly familiar brand of lively, if not very inspired comedy. You can look at his filmography and predict the exact tone and style of Horrible Bosses 2.
Overall, it’s a well-made, decently funny movie that is exactly as good as it had any potential to be. If you loved the original, you’ll like this. If you only liked the original, maybe sit this one out.
Seriously though, stay for the blooper reel. It’s a goodun!
Horrible Bosses 2 opens in Philly area theaters today.
Author: Dan Scully
Dan Scully is a film buff and humorist living in a tiny apartment in Philadelphia. He hosts the podcast I Like to Movie Movie and is the proud father to twin cactuses named Riggs & Murtaugh. Also, he doesn’t really mind when Batman kills people. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd.