Posted: 07/09/2011


Horrible Bosses

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen

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It comes across any working-class individual’s mind—the idea that when a boss goes on vacation, one is able to breathe a bit easier. But in Horrible Bosses, which is a movie filled with crude sexual humor, the three main players decide they would rather get rid of their respective bosses permanently. And after a few too many drinks, they set out to devise a plan to do just that.

The three guys, led by Jason Bateman as Nick; Charlie Day, as Dale and Jason Sudeikis as Kurt, have bosses who have in many ways hit their limit, and the guys feel that if they could just kill them, life would be so much easier.

Dale works as a dental assistant for Jennifer Aniston, who has her own dental practice and also the major hots for Dale, who is engaged to be married. Jennifer can’t let Dale breathe without her making sexual advances toward him, even while a patient is knocked out in the dental chair. She eventually threatens to tell Dale’s fiancée that she and Dale have had sex.
Nick works for Dave, played by Kevin Spacey, who has been leading him on, telling him that he’s next in line for a big promotion. And Kurt works for a kind boss Jack, played by Donald Sutherland. But Jack’s son is a pure asshole. When Jack dies, the son takes over, and it’s just unbearable for Kurt.

The three can’t quit, and they are too timid to whack their bosses themselves, so they seek to hire a hit man to do the job for them. The first guy they enlist is not who Dale thinks he is. But Dale found him in the “men seeking men” section, and he believes he is the guy for the job. After they meet the “hit man” at a sleazy motel, the trio learns that this hit man isn’t really a hit man but a man who provides golden showers at a price. After figuring out he made a mistake, Dale still has to pay the guy, while they are glad that they narrowly escaped a night of man-on-man ecstasy.

Nick, Dale and Kurt next go to a dive on the “low-end” of town where they run into Jamie Foxx, whose name is M**F** Jones. Jones pretends to be a hardened ex-con, hustles them out of $5,000 and only advises them on how to kill their bosses. But they soon discover that their plan has gone awry.

While getting intelligence on all the bosses, so they can figure out just how to kill them without anything being detected, the cell phone belonging to Kurt’s new boss, Bobby Pellitt, ends up in Dave’s bedroom. Dave thinks that his promiscuous wife is having an affair with Bobby, so he goes to his home and shoots him dead. However, the cops, one of whom is played by Wendell Pierce, think that one of the three men probably killed Bobby. They are now being followed, while trying to get out of the big mess in which they find themselves.

In the end they are finally cleared, with much help from the GPS audio system on the Prius in which they have been driving. Horrible Bosses is quite a funny movie, but I can’t get with all the really crude and outlandish sexual jokes—which reference oral sex, masturbation and who between Nick and Kurt would get ganged raped more if they ended up in jail—that permeated the movie. But it was good to see Sutherland and also veteran actor Bob Newhart in cameos.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.

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