Directed by: Sean Anders
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Anison, Kevin Spacey
It’s hard to expect much from a film that singles-out Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ as a towering panicle of modern-day art. Still, having managed to draw back Kevin Spacey, and enticed Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz this time around, surely it’s not overzealous to expect this admittedly unnecessary sequel to at least be solidly entertaining. Turns out it is.
To the credit of writer/director Sean Anders (Hot Tub Time Machine), Horrible Bosses 2 does spare us the indignation of simply regurgitating the same narrative a’la The Hangover 2; although that doesn’t stop the film from being any less lacklustre. Following on from the events of the first film, Dale, Kurt and Nick (Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis & Jason Bateman) have decided to start their own business and be their own bosses. However, when a slimy investor (Waltz) and his crackpot son (Pine) pull the rug out from under the three inept entrepreneurs and force them in to bankruptcy, they decide to hatch a vengeful plan involving kidnap and ransom in order to regain control of their company.
There’s the odd moment of juvenile humour to be found here, mainly thanks to a decent supporting cast that consists almost entirely of extended cameos. Spacey can still sneer with gusto, Jamie Foxx can still do good comical aggression as the infamous Motherfucker Jones, and Jennifer Aniston can still say dirty things with about as much conviction as a low-rent hooker. Best of the newcomers is Chris Pine, released of his serious tough-guy image to play a psychotically unstable and amusingly outlandish yuppie.
Unfortunately, as becomes clear by the end of the first scene, the company of three leads (who improvise many of their own lines) continues to be an exhaustingly insufferable experience. Bateman wanders across the screen with all the wit and charm of a desk chair, and Sudeikis is once more content with being an irritating prick that we’re meant to sympathise with. Only Charlie Day manages to raise the odd titter during the monotonously overstretched and fist-clenchingly regular scenes of the three men bickering, but even he’s reduced to a caricature of himself by the end of the second reel, incessantly screeching to the point that you’ll practically be begging the ushers to bring round a tray of paracetamol.
What makes this all the more frustrating is that Anders seems to prefer spending time with these three migraine-inducing buffoons than pushing the film’s narrative forward. By the time we get to the third act, it’s hard to muster enough interest to remain conscious as the director blows the bulk of his budget on an overblown car chase.
As with the first film, the end credits consists of the film’s best outtakes, which confirms to the audience that even though you may not have had a great time watching this film, the cast sure had a swell time making it. At one point we hear Bateman tell Sudeikis that he can “smell dog shit”. Sudeikis suggests it may be Bateman’s acting, but in all honesty it was probably just the festering stench of their combined talents.