Blu-Ray Review: Stellar Comedy Ensemble Rocks in ‘Horrible Bosses’

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CHICAGO – The summer of the R-rated comedy, which was SO clearly inspired by the success of “The Hangover” and its sequel, was an interesting case of the law of diminishing returns. If you over-saturate a market, critics and viewers will turn away. By the time that “The Change-Up” and “30 Minutes or Less” thudded into theaters, we all remembered why they don’t make that many R-rated comedies in a year any more — most of them are dumb. Looking back on the trend, two films stand out as the R-rated comedies of Summer 2011 — the widely-beloved (and a bit overrated) “Bridesmaids” and Seth Gordon’s very-funny and consistently-entertaining “Horrible Bosses,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

As is cleverly referenced within the film, “Horrible Bosses” is basically a riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” (or “Throw Momma From the Train” for younger viewers) in the world of modern workplace nightmares. If you’ve never had a boss you’ve hated than you’re probably a horrible boss yourself. It’s just the nature of the corporate ladder that we’ve all had to deal with some scum on our way up it. The three leads in “Horrible Bosses” devise a plan to get rid of their truly horrendous a-holes — you kill my boss, I kill his boss, he kills your boss.

Horrible Bosses
Horrible Bosses
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Plot recap from my theatrical review:

Horrible Bosses was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 11th, 2011
Horrible Bosses was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 11th, 2011
Photo credit: Fox

“The first and most central of the horrible bosses hangs on the back of Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), a man who has spent years as a workaholic hoping for the big, promised promotion. His boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), gives him a hard time for showing up at two minutes past 6AM and for asking for time off to say goodbye to his ‘Gam-Gam’ before she dies. He has given his life to Harken’s company and is getting nothing but abuse in return.

Similarly screwed is Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis of “Saturday Night Live”), a man who loves his job and the patriarch (Donald Sutherland) who runs it but finds himself in a nightmare when the head of the company dies and leaves it to his worthless cokehead son Bobby (Colin Farrell). The obnoxious jerk not only wants to fire the handicapped man at work because he’s creepy but is planning to reverse all the environmental progress made by his dad. Finally, the sweet Dale Arbus (Charlie Day of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) has become the victim of intense sexual harassment on the part of Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). If he doesn’t sleep with her, she’s going to ruin his life.

Nick, Kurt, and Dale have a drunken evening in which they come up with a plan to kill the people ruining their lives. They first turn to Craigslist, eventually stumbling upon the services of one Motherf**ker Jones (Jamie Foxx) and the wacky hijinks ensue from there. “Horrible Bosses” progresses in unpredictable ways as it builds toward a climax that includes infidelity, drugs, murder, a car chase, and even a toothbrush shoved where the sun don’t shine. It’s a goofy piece of black humor that can somehow wedge in references to men peeing on other men and “Snow Falling on Cedars.” It’s not a consistent script – some of the jokes and set pieces fall flatter than others – but it contains enough peaks to forgive the valleys.”

As for the highly-touted “Totally Inappropriate Edition,” the nine minutes of extended footage mostly consists of a few extra jokes or lines in certain scenes (for example, Farrell’s bit about firing people goes on longer, as does the handjob scene in the bar). Honestly, most of the extended footage, while funny, kills the pace a bit. In other words, the theatrical version is better.

Once again, Warner Brothers has released an impressive Blu-ray package for one of their biggest hits. Not only is there the extended edition for fans but more deleted scenes, digital copy, special features, etc. It’s not a landmark Blu-ray release and doesn’t have a wealth of bonus material, although no one expects a detailed breakdown of “Horrible Bosses.” The main reason people buy comedy Blu-rays is simple — it’s the genre that is most-often rewatched. And the good news is that “Horrible Bosses” holds up on repeat viewing. It’s actually one of the few comedies of 2011 that does.

Special Features:
o My Least Favorite Career
o Surviving A Horrible Boss
o Being Mean Is So Much Fun
o The Making of the Horrible Bosses Soundtrack
o Deleted Scenes
o BD Live Enabled
o Digital Copy Of Feature Film

”Horrible Bosses” stars Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, and Kevin Spacey. It was written by Michael Markowitz and John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein and directed by Seth Gordon. It is rated R and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 11th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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