1 out of 5 stars (one of the worst of the year)
I have spoken many times on my opinions of sequels. If you make a movie that does well, but has franchise potential after the fact, then feel free to attempt another. However, sequels to comedies are almost never a good idea, no matter how much bank the first one brought in. Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, and even Tooth Fairy all received terrible sequels (yes, a sequel to Tooth Fairy is real.) Horrible Bosses, a 2011 dark comedy about 3 frustrated guys who want to kill their employers, made major returns ($209 million on a budget of $35 million), but it didn’t need a sequel. All loose ends were tied and the characters had happy endings. Unfortunately, money talks, so 2014 gave us Horrible Bosses 2, a film where the titular bosses are the characters we’re meant to root for.
The film opens with Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) as they are attempting to start their own business. The three have developed a product (The Shower Buddy, possibly the worst name for a product since the Snuggie), and are now searching for investors. My question during this entire opening was why they didn’t try Shark Tank, but that’s beside the point.
Their prayers seem answered when wealthy businessman Burt Hanson (an underused Christoph Waltz) takes an interest in their product and orders several thousand units. Ecstatic, the boys find a base, hire some workers (in a decently funny joke), and start production. Unfortunately, Hanson takes back his word as well as the product name (renaming it the Shower Pal), and threatens foreclosure. Their reaction: Plan to kidnap Burt’s son Rex (an enjoyable Chris Pine) for ransom so they can pay money on their building. However, things get more complicated when Rex wants in on their caper, leading to frustratingly unfunny results.
This is a perfect example of a cash grab. Some of the biggest positives of the original have been upped to 11, mutating them into negatives. Horrible Bosses had a few really funny scenes of the three leads riffing off of each other about random stuff, so Horrible Bosses 2 quadruples that. There are so many scenes of the script coming to a screeching halt so that the leads can riff on dumb topics that are totally unrelated to the task at hand. For example, there is a lengthy scene in which Nick ends up in a sex addicts meeting with Jennifer Aniston’s character (a sexual predator) is present. It starts out okay, but feels totally pointless by the end. I apologize for the subtitles in the video.
On a positive note, Chris Pine provides a number of laughs as the swarmy rich-kid, and Christoph Waltz does what he can. Sadly, Pine does such a good job at being a snotty brat that it is totally unbelievable when he joins with the guys to assist in the kidnapping plot. Kevin Spacey also has a glorified cameo in which he gets to insult the leads for their stupidity. I totally agreed with him in that moment, and wished the film had been about his character living out his prison sentence.
I knew Horrible Bosses 2 would not be great, but I did not expect it to be this bad. I think Richard Roeper said it best when he wrote “Horrible Bosses 2 is so bad that it isn’t even about horrible bosses.” That about sums it up.
Rated R for Strong Crude Sexual Content and Language Throughout