HORRIBLE BOSSES Saturday 31 December, 2011

A shit version of Strangers On A Train. Shitgers On A Train.

The premise is so very relate-able. Your boss is a royal pain in the ass. Your life would be simpler if they were dead. Only the very lucky few will have managed to spend years toiling for the man without encountering a very bad boss. The rest of us will know exactly how much of an effect it can have on your life. This is the situation in which our three protagonists find themselves in Horrible Bosses.

I’m a massive Jason Bateman fan. This is largely due to him making the role of Arrested Development’s Michael Bluth his own. However, I must be honest and say that I approached this film with a certain amount of trepidation. It seems that most directors and writers aren’t sure how to use him properly. It is not enough to simply make him be uptight and snarky. What makes his performance in Arrested Development so likeable is the human quality he brings to the snark. Michael Bluth has all of the smart alec quips but he is also very fallible and that is what makes him and therefore Bateman’s performance so likeable. If you remove that vulnerability it tends to render the character quite unlikeable. This is what happens in this film and also what happened in the Pegg & Frost vehicle, Paul. It’s a little more forgivable in Paul because he was playing the bad guy but even so I left the film feeling that Jason Bateman had been used incorrectly. Let’s hope that people start to realise that he is so much more than an uptight man with a sharp line in cutting remarks.

Incorrect Bateman deployment aside I was also a little worried about how well I would enjoy this film because it has Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell as headline stars. I don’t generally enjoy their performances. Surprisingly, I had no problem with either of them. In fact I quite enjoyed both of them in this film. I was less enamoured with Kevin Spacey’s performance. ┬áThat’s not to say he was doing anything wrong it’s just that I felt I was watching an amalgam of his roles from Glenn Gary Glenn Ross and Swimming With Sharks. I suspect that that is what he was instructed to do. His character felt a little one-dimensional although I suspect this is more to do with the direction and writing though.

This film has a lot of the right ingredients but for some reason they just don’t gel. Some nice little cameo moments, sufficient silliness and a reasonable plot. When the film finished I pondered why it didn’t really fly. In my mind I felt that the director is responsible for this. I didn’t know who had directed it. It’s Seth Gordon. He of Four Christmases fame. Ok, so that’s not the only thing he’s directed but it is something I have seen recently and felt exactly the same way about. He seems to have a talent for taking very good quality ingredients and making a very average dinner. He is also responsible for The King of Kong so I am not going to damn him completely but I think he may be a better documentary film maker.

It’s not all bad though. There are some moments of hilarity but they are hidden amongst a lot of jokes that fall ever so flat. Maybe other people won’t have such a problem with it but I found Charlie Day’s voice incredibly annoying but he still manages to glean some laughs. Jason Sudeikis’ character is also a bit smug and you kind of want him to end up being jailed for murder.

Overall this film is ok. Not as good as it should be but still Ok. I wouldn’t spend any money on it though. Wait until it’s on TV and then you won’t resent it for taking your money.

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