A Revlock Review: HORRIBLE BOSSES 2

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tinsel & Tine is normally rah-rah on most movies, but these last 3 we've highlighted have not been given our full support.  I was fascinated with the subjects of The Theory of Everything (click for T&T post) but not so much with the movie itself.  I hate to miss The Hunger Games movies (click for T&T post), but at the same time, can't really get behind the franchise.  And now Mikhail has written a fantastically scathing review of this black comedy which reunites these bumbling murderers under new direction.  -  Le Anne Lindsay, Editor


By Blog Contributor Mikhail Revlock

We had to know this was coming. The original Horrible Bosses was a surprise smash hit, the most successful black comedy since The War of the Roses (a mortifying statistic in light of all the Big Lebowskis, Pulp Fictions, and Bad Santas produced between 1990 and 2011). The premise wasn’t exactly engineered to generate sequels; the public will endure all matter of derivative fan service, but they will not accept our trio re-saddled with a respective tyrant, seductress, and cokehead. The industry schlockmeisters behind Horrible Bosses 2 (having seasoned their talents for lowest-denomination-catering on That’s My Boy and The Hot Tub Time Machine) skirt the Hangover 2 dilemma by turning Nick, Kurt, and Dale (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day) into entrepreneurs. The utter lack of mental acuity evidenced by the supposed heroes of this farce is screamed at the audience in the first scene, and the proclamations of the gang’s ineptitude do not abate for one instant. They have developed some vaguely explained shower appliance, and they have named it the Shower Buddy. While advertising their product on a morning news show, Kurt and Dale fall into a passionate debate over the name; Dale thinks it should be called the Shower Daddy. Why are they having this fight on live TV? Why didn’t they come to a compromise over this detail before jeopardizing the future of their company with a boneheaded promotional spot?

Though Horrible Bosses 2 is rarely laugh-out-loud funny—it is occasionally smirking-to-oneself funny—every plot machination is in the service of a joke. If half of these jokes stuck, we’d be looking at an impressive gag-minute ratio. Instead, numbed by repetitious jabs to the rib, we gaze upon a husk of flat shock humor. I was struck with the urge to flee the screening as I realized that the only reason these guys were shilling this “Shower Buddy” was to riff about the name and engage in suggestive shadow play in a shower stall. This gag (performed with more aplomb in Austin Powers 2 and comparable tedium in countless others) is a terrifying harbinger of bits to come.

Sans the core trinity’s passable chemistry, the film would be un-watchable. Rather than feeling like a few actors hurled onto a set together, Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day evince an easy, natural rapport in their seemingly improvisational interactions. (Like the average industry laugh machine, the screenplay is credited to six writers, yet seems to have been written on the spot.)

Bateman runs on the collective good will of Arrested Development devotees, Sudeikis is tolerable in small doses, and Day is a brilliant one-trick pony, yet united they exceed the sum of their parts. 

The filmmakers clearly recognize the potency of their stars’ combined forces, for the screenplay is apparently structured around an algorithm that determined how many scenes the actors could co-inhabit. Indeed, as a critic might note that the main character of a film is in practically every scene, the sensation of all-consuming focus is multiplied by three in this case. By bathing such unflinching attention on these idiots, director Sean Anders strips the narrative of any momentum.

The plot hinges on a competing developer who destroys their business and steals their idea, a kidnapping plot botched by an untimely deployment of nitrous oxide, a would-be victim who uses the guys to fake his abduction and squeeze a million bucks out of his negligent father, etc. It moves predictably from point to point, reintroducing erstwhile enemies, providing numerous riffing opportunities, and incorporating myriad supposedly envelope-pushing provocations. Only the diverting gag reel that accompanies the closing credits offers a respite from this persistently humorless material.  T&T Lamb Score: 2 outta 5

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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