As a much more successful bromance comedy than The Hangover Part II, Horrible Bosses benefits from the volatile comic mixture of chemistry between its actors and a genuinely quirky script.

The film is about three stepped-on employees who aim to take murderous revenge on the titular villains. It delivers in contentious scenes between corporate climber Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) and his sadistic boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey). These disarmingly hilarious moments capture Bateman and Spacey sharing an analogous delivery style. Even their facial features reflect a unity that gives their exchanges a rub of superfine comic sandpaper. These two men want to hurt each other.

Nick, however, has considerably more reasoned motivation for inflicting pain after he's passed over for a big promotion he was groomed to fill. Sparks of comic magic fly between Bateman and Spacey like gunpowder on a mirror under sunlight.

Nick’s pal Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) is poised to take over his much smaller company until his firm’s beloved head honcho Jack Pellit (Donald Sutherland) suffers a heart attack, allowing Jack’s cokehead son Bobby (wonderfully played by a disguised Colin Farrell) to usurp Kurt’s promised position as company president.

Horrible Bosses’ screenwriters have more than just laughs on their minds—a notion evidenced in the plight of Dale Arbus, a dental assistant played by Charlie Day of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Dale, who suffers the
misfortune of becoming a registered sex offender for peeing in a public playground at night, must endure punishment at the hands of Jennifer Aniston’s Dr. Julia Harris. Julia takes special pleasure in sexually harassing Dale while working on sedated patients. In one scene, the sex-obsessed dentist hilariously christens her habit of spraying water on Dale’s crotch. Dale’s upcoming nuptials only increase Julia’s inappropriate lust. The horny doctor goes so far as to attempt some flagrant nastiness with Dale while his drugged fiancée awaits dental attention. Look for the word “dong” to enter American parlance in a big way; Julia just can’t get enough of it. Aniston spouts dirty, over-the-top dialogue like a seasoned pro, while Day’s sidesplitting performance has all the hallmarks of a breakout effort. Watch your back, Zach Galifianakis.

In a cynical age of postmodern fatigue, where an economic collapse favors corporate pigs and warmongers, three dunderheaded pals conspire to kill their asshole bosses. Funny surprises and spasms of slapstick smack you upside the head. Horrible Bosses is a feisty and sexy little comedy that throws a lot of punches—most of which connect on the funny bone, the groin or the forehead.

Horrible Bosses
Directed by
Seth Gordon
With Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Donald Sutherland
Regal Stadium 14
100 min.