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November 25, 2014

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


Walking into any comedy screening, it is near statute to concede that not everything you’re going to see and hear will sit well with you. In a market where risqué and lewd humour often equates to big bucks, political correctness is demoted to the back of the queue, its protesting cries drowned out by floods of laughter and jeering audiences.

Horrible Bosses 2, sequel to the banal and bone-headed 2011 release, goes the extra mile, taking it upon itself to offend every sentient being it can think of. Presumably seeking to extend the surprise financial success of its predecessor, this fatuous release’s comedy digs an unfathomably deep hole for itself, resorting to lazy farcical tropes and a smorgasbord of unsavoury witticisms, intended for a wide audience. Excessively sexist, misogynist, racist and a string of other thoroughly deserved indictments, this comedic black hole of a film won’t only not make you laugh, it will frankly appal you.

Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), the familiar trio of contemptible middle-aged frat boys, return to the big screen, this time CEOs of their own company Shower Buddy. Having disposed of their previous bosses through a series of freak accidents in the last film, the 3 friends have become their own bosses, trying to make a name for themselves in the big bad world of entrepreneurship. After being swindled out of $500,000 by business giant Bert Hanson, played by Christoph Waltz, perhaps the film’s only item on the critical tick list, the group attempt to get their money back through a staged kidnapping of Bert’s son Rex, played by Chris Pine.

The film falls spectacularly at the first hurdle as a flashy high-budget comedy by failing to inspire a single laugh. When a film’s opening gag is a visual joke about masturbation, this rarely reassures its audience that the next 110 minutes are going to be anything other than a feckless snoozefest. The characters’ abhorrent personas have become limp and lifeless since the first film; Kurt’s palpable libido is reprehensible and Dale’s hyperbolically shrill chipmunk routine suggests him as one of the most annoying characters to grace our cinema screens in recent years.

However, the film’s lack of laughs is the very least of its problems. Looming beneath this witless blockbuster is an objectionable tour de force of offensiveness of truly behemothic proportions. The film’s troubling political heart rears its horrible head most fervently with the return of Dr. Julia Harris, played by Jennifer Aniston. As the only female role, save a vast harem of stick figure women hired by Kurt to their company for nothing other than their busty chests, Aniston reprises her part as the “nympho potty mouth” dentist. The film sees her not only gain sexual excitement from the thought of two 14-year-old boys engaging in sexual activity but also rape a comatosed Dale, both in the hope of deriving some laughs. With its blatant trivialising of rape and paedophilia, it is a wonder how the film ever made it through to cinemas.


The so-called machine of Hollywood consistently spews out films with such thinly veiled intentions of making vast amounts of money. It must be for this reason alone that a film so odious as Horrible Bosses 2 has been allowed any place on our screens. It is a film so steeped in contentious issues that to allow it such traction is nothing short of shocking and potentially harmful. Comedies are afforded the privilege of exploring more controversial areas, which can often herald the biggest laughs. Horrible Bosses 2 has single-handedly shown that a limit to such a privilege exists, the film itself having wholeheartedly met and exceeded it.

Horrible Bosses 2
is released in UK cinemas on November 28th

George Washbourn