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Review: 'Horrible Bosses' will laugh all the way to the bank

By Tom Charity, CNN
Kevin Spacey, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day co-star in "Horrible Bosses."
Kevin Spacey, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day co-star in "Horrible Bosses."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Three employees grapple with rough job situations in "Horrible Bosses"
  • Film's cast includes Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston
  • The employees clumsily scheme to kill their respective bosses

(CNN) -- These days, you can't turn on the TV without seeing someone -- apprentice business executives, models, chefs -- get fired for our entertainment.

So let's chalk one up for the working stiffs, even if we probably deserve better than this scrappily funny R-rated comedy about three wage slaves who -- in Paddy Chayefsky's phrase -- "just can't take it any more."

Jason Bateman is Nick, a brown-noser who figures he'll suck up the worst Harken (Kevin Spacey) can throw at him until he gets that promotion.

Dale (Charlie Day) is a dental assistant, unambitious and happily engaged to be married. Unfortunately his boss Julia (Jennifer Aniston) is a sex-crazed harpy who won't take no for an answer.

And then there's Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) who loves his CEO, until the old man keels over and his hedonistic, no-good son Bobby (Colin Farrell) takes over the company and proceeds to treat it as his personal piggy bank.

Jennifer Aniston immortalized in cement
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So why don't they quit? Well, you may have heard, there is a really lousy economy going on. In a semi-topical touch, an ex-Lehman Brothers banker who has been reduced to begging and prostitution plants a seed that quickly mushrooms into a scheme for justice and triple homicide.

In theory, they mean to throw the police off the scent by murdering each other's persecutors -- just like in that Hitchcock movie (you know, the one with Danny DeVito: "Throw Momma From the Train?"). In practice, they're such criminal klutzes, they're more likely to get caught three times over.

Hitchcock being unavailable, I'd settle for DeVito -- at least he tried to craft a real movie, which is more than you can say for Seth Gordon ("Four Christmases"), who has no clue how to keep three balls in the air and would sacrifice anyone's momma if it would buy him another giggle. But if it's giggles you want, at least there's a gaggle of them.

The plotting isn't exactly watertight. Aniston's strenuously raunchy subplot is never properly integrated into the action. And we never believe such patently regular guys would actually follow through with their crimes, even on such trumped up Donalds as these, but then, nobody goes to a movie called "Horrible Bosses" for subtlety.

They go to see Jamie Foxx as "murder consultant" Mother------- Jones, Colin Farrell wigging out and Kevin Spacey amping up his mean streak.

As for the three stooges, their distinct rhythms don't always click, but the movie will surely give Charlie Day's career a nudge in the right direction.

Jason Bateman has done sharper work in "Extract" and "The Switch" without much box office traction to show for it. Cruder in intent and execution, "Horrible Bosses" will likely fare better in the market place, if only because, like "The Hangover," it serves as a release valve for the overworked and the underemployed.

This is risque business, a task that requires bad taste, teasing sexual and racial taboos and unspeakable assaults on dental hygiene. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

 
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