Friday, July 15, 2011

Diminishing Returns: "Horrible Bosses"

Take two proven comedic talents (the Jasons, Bateman and Sudeikis), add a couple of proven box-office draws with mixed recent results (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Aniston), one acclaimed vet who'll take on just about any role (and do it well), throw them together and let them essentially say and do as they please, and why do you get?

In this mostly aimless rehash of the 80s classic, "9 to 5" you get far less than you may be expecting. In what has proven in one sense to be Hollywood's "summer of raunch" comedies seem to be trying to outdoing each other with crudity and vulgarity. While director Seth Gordon manages to keep the gratuitous sex and flesh almost to a minimum (save a few cheesy partial nudity romps from Aniston), no scatological reference, sexual or otherwise, is left unused. One particularly tiresome sequence has co-lead Charlie Day - playing a dental assistant - promising to do all kinds of unmentionables to his boss (Aniston) whilst a passenger in a acr being driven by his buddies, who themselves are desperatelybtrying to evade a marauding Spacey, one-third of the title's horrible triumvirate.

For those who would think me a prude, it's not so much the language. Of the film that's got me worked up, it's more that it's used in the service of.....nothing really. The aforesaid rehash is delivered with none of the madcap sense of fun or the zany style of it's predecessor (maybe the fact that the three protagonists in 9 to 5 were all women); the guest stars,apart from Spacey, who is marvelously malevolent and stylish, tend to fall flat, and the action scenes seem to be mere filler, as if huge gaps in the script demanded a car chase or a violent confrontation.

Of course, the movie opened a strong #2 to Transformers (mindless rubbish of another kind), but for moviegoers with less frivolous leanings, this one just isn't productive.

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