Socialist Worker

Horrible Bosses: recession laughs from Hollywood, but in short supply

by Sally Campbell
Issue No. 2261

The major Hollywood film, Horrible Bosses, is about three downtrodden workers plotting to kill their bosses grossed $28 million on its first weekend. For these reasons, it’s something worth commenting on.

Nick (Jason Bateman, best known as Michael Bluth in the sitcom Arrested Development) narrates his life plan.

He is sure he’ll get that promotion because he’s been “taking shit” for eight years from his evil boss (a creepy Kevin Spacey).

Of course, he doesn’t get it—his boss gives himself an extra title and a massive pay rise. “I own you,” he tells Nick.

Nick’s friends Dale and Kurt are also in miserable positions. Dale is a dental assistant whose boss (Jennifer Aniston) sexually harasses him.

Kurt was happy working at a chemical company until it is taken over by the boss’s womanising, environment-destroying, coke-fiend son, played by Colin Farrell. And if Farrell didn’t base his character on Douglas Reynholm from Channel 4’s IT Crowd, I’ll eat my hat.

All three discuss quitting—until they run into an old friend who had a successful career at Lehman Brothers, but hasn’t found a job since its collapse.

“I’d kill those Lehman brothers if I could,” he laments. And thus their plan is drunkenly formed.

Here my sympathy and patience with the film ends. Like so many other laddish comedies, this is full of sexist and homophobic “humour” and racial stereotypes.

The three A-list actors playing the bosses give great performances, but our “heroes” are a patchy trio.

Aside from this, it’s just not very funny. It is a waste of a good premise and some good performances. If you’re looking for some recession laughs, don’t start here.

In fact, skip back a couple of recessions and get a copy of Nine to Five—I’ll take Dolly, Jane and Lily over this shower any day.

Horrible Bosses is directed by Seth Gordon

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Article information

Tue 19 Jul 2011, 17:25 BST
Issue No. 2261
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