26 November 2014

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses 2

The good thing about movie preview screenings is that you get to watch films you wouldn't necessarily have opted to see otherwise but which sometimes turn out to be quite entertaining. Although I am a fan of Jason Bateman, I wouldn't have chosen to go to see Sean Anders' Horrible Bosses 2; actually, it was pretty amusing at times. It positions itself as a sort of hybrid of Home Alone and Ocean's Eleven, but those comparisons oversell it somewhat.

I didn't see the original Horrible Bosses, but I caught up on the back story quickly enough — and many of the gags in the sequel might feel tired or lazy for people who have seen the original. As Horrible Bosses 2 opens, three friends — Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sueikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) — have escaped their titular horrible bosses of yore and started their own company and are trying to produce and sell an ill-conceived gadget called ShowerBuddy.

A mishap-filled feature on breakfast TV draws the interest of investors, including trust-fund brat Rex Hanson (Chris Pine) and his devious father Bert (Christoph Waltz). Our trusting young heroes agree to manufacture 100,000 ShowerBuddy units and when they have finished — oh, what a surprise! — Hanson Senior tells them the deal is off. He wants them go to bust so he can buy the company and its product on the cheap.

The three amigos brainstorm potential solutions and, after ruling out murder (see Horrible Bosses), they concoct a ludicrous plan to kidnap Rex and hold him to ransom. Nick isn't sure this is such a good idea, but the other two are keen and they tentatively go ahead. Naturally, everything goes horribly wrong, so will our heroes manage to outwit the Hansons and save their business? (Spoiler alert: the film is rather predictable and all of the small plot twists are sign-posted well in advance, so it isn't exactly edge-of-the-seat stuff.)

Of course Horrible Bosses 2 is silly and of course it's predictable, but it's also quite good fun at times, although the script definitely has its weak moments too. You could tell that the cast was having a whale of a time on set. The cast itself is pretty decent — Bateman is good, as always, as the straight man saddled with a pair of idiots, and Waltz, if not at his best, put in a good turn as the pantomimish villain. Two of the three horrible bosses from the first film — played by Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston — also make cameos in the sequel. Spacey's character isn't wildly different from his Frank Underwood in House of Cards, despite the wildly differing contexts of these two projects.

It can be quite refreshing to see a film and know in advance exactly what you are going to get, and if you are looking for something fun and mindless at the cinema this weekend, Horrible Bosses 2 could well be the film to see.

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