For years people I know have railed against Rush singer Geddy Lee’s singing voice. His sound, to some—and especially on the early stuff—can feel shrill. One friend asked me how the guy doesn’t break windows.

Because I love Geddy Lee, I had no idea what his detractors meant until now. Charlie Day is the Geddy Lee of contemporary comedies. How viewers can find a guy with the most nasally, whiny, ear-piercing shriek funny is beyond me.

In short, my experience with Horrible Bosses 2 lapses from the objective into the subjective. Day’s voice is worse than nails on a chalkboard, and his idea of comedy, at least in this movie, is to try to shout over the people he’s acting with in order to make jokes or read lines or improvise or whatever the hell he’s doing. The improvisation, and there’s a ton of it, goes on and on and on and on and…repeating a lame joke doesn’t make funny; it makes it miserable.

It’s unfortunate, then, that Day doesn’t do much in Horrible Bosses 2 but scream. And that might be fine and dandy if the movie weren’t a total, complete and in all other ways, giant piece of shit. There are four laughs in Horrible Bosses 2, two big and two little.

This time around, Nick (Jason Bateman looking bored), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Day), intent on working for themselves, have invented something called the Shower Buddy. It lets its users…oh, who cares? It exists only as a means to get the plot moving and to make a stale visual gag that has Dale looking like he’s sucking Kurt off in a live-TV demonstration.

Enter Rex Hanson (Chris Pine) and his father, Bert (Christoph Waltz), who run an enormous company that wants an exclusive license for the Shower Buddy. But because Nick, Kurt and Dale are idiots, they get screwed out of their start-up money and the Hansons plan on purchasing, manufacturing and selling the Shower Buddy for super cheap.

Enter a kidnap plot, in which the dolts try to swipe Rex in exchange for their money. It might be interesting or at least diverting if the screenwriters and director made the main characters as awful as the bad guys—who says you have to like leading men?—but instead Nick deadpans and looks tired while Kurt and Dale do things that are so stupid that they defy logic, even in a dumb comedy.

For example, Dale has a way of announcing whatever illegal deed they’re about to commit the moment he bumps into someone who could get him in trouble. Plus, Kurt was a sleeze in the first movie; in this one, he’s as stupid as Dale, dropping identifying documents in a house they’re breaking into and not caring because…I’m not sure why. Because the screenplay demands it? It makes no sense.

The four laughs all concern Jennifer Aniston, gamely reprising her role as Dale’s former boss, and Jamie Foxx, who just wants to open a Pinkberry. But at 108 minutes, you deserve more than a laugh every 27 minutes. If this is the future of comedy, I fucking weep for the future. Director Sean Anders is responsible for the reprehensible That’s My Boy and co-wrote the laugh-free Dumb and Dumber To. Add this to the dung heap.

 

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2
Directed by Sean Anders
With Bateman, Sudeikis and Day
Regal Stadium 14
R
108 min.