Comedies today are terrible. I’ve seen dire comedy after dire comedy. Occasionally it’s been broken up by something like Bridesmaids (which was ok but about as deserving of its unbelievable acclaim as Marisa Tomei was of her Oscar) and films like Win Win and Cedar Rapids which are funny is a self conscious indie way. But did I howl with childlike laughter? No, I did not. In all honesty I didn’t howl with childlike laughter during Horrible Bosses either but that’s because I’m an ungenerous silent chuckler, not because it’s not a funny movie. It’s a simple and fairly stupid plot but, as all comedies should’ve learnt; if you’re funny then the movie’s working.
Jason Bateman plays Jason Bateman aka the exact same character he always plays as a direct result of the fact that 90% of Arrested Development’s audience were Hollywood casting agents. Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis finalise the whole double act thing they started in Going the Distance. It’s a solid central three, all actors happy to deliver punch line after punch line without requiring some sort of dramatic pay-off to prove that they could some day be an awards contender. And that’s basically the point at which Horrible Bosses succeeds- it knows that its humour isn’t high brow, its script isn’t Aaron Sorkin and its acting isn’t going for gold. It wouldn’t be half the film if Jennifer Aniston’s sex crazed dentist was played by Meryl Streep (actually, that’d be kind of awesome…).
Some jokes miss their mark and Donald Sutherland is criminally underused (literally, he dies seconds into his cameo) but on the whole the dialogue has the same dick-gag pithiness as the better rat-a-tats in The Hangover. It’s a likeable friendship and it works, big set pieces aside, when the characters are communicating with one another. The credits’ gag reel exposes just how much each actor was playing themselves and, more importantly, what a lot of fun they were having.
One of the funnier comedies that I’ve seen in recent months. After Bridesmaids this is proof that guys can do comedy too because that totally needed to be said.