Second time out, the jokes just don't come as frequently for Bateman, Day and Sudeikis
Horrible Bosses 2 is a classic comedy sequel: it tries to recreate the infectious camaraderie and constant lolz of the original, which became a surprise box office smash back in 2011, but never fully succeeds.
First time out, our ham-handed heroes Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) were oppressed employees on a mission to kill the respective “horrible bosses” of the film’s title. Second time around, things are slightly different – the guys are now well-intentioned but naive entrepreneurs seeking to exact revenge on billionaire businessman Burt Hanson (an under-used Christoph Waltz), whose double crossing sinks their dubiously-named invention, the ‘Shower Buddy’, before it even hits the shelves. Kidnap rather than murder is on the cards, though, as the klutzy trio plot to hold Burt’s douchey son, Rex (Chris Pine, showing off his comedy chops), to ransom so they can recover the money Burt basically owes them anyway. What couldn’t go wrong,?
The script by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who also co-wrote the original, certainly has its moments, but the jokes just don’t come as frequently as they did first time around – it’s telling that one of the funniest moments is essentially a riff on the infamous “toothbrush gag” of the original. Everything else feels a bit more forced, too, as three scene-stealing support characters from the first film – Jamie Foxx’s self-styled “murder consultant”, Kevin Spacey’s psychopathic CEO and Jennifer Aniston’s tooth-drilling nymphomaniac – are shoe-horned into the plot in a bid to bring back that old Horrible Bosses magic. Only Aniston gets to shine as brightly as before; gleefully playing against type as she delivers ridiculous lines like “I collect cocks”, she’s a total riot.
Horrible Bosses 2 is always watchable enough, and has enough amusing interludes not to test your patience too much over a slightly bloated 108-minute running time. But for a comedy about kidnap, it’s strangely toothless, and even the biggest fans of the original will leave thinking that Horrible Bosses 3 really doesn’t need to happen.
Release date: 28 Nov, 2014