HORRIBLE BOSSES 2
(R and Unrated)
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Jason Bateman as NICK HENDRICKS
Jason Sudeikis as KURT BUCKMAN
Charlie Day as DALE ARBUS
Jennifer Aniston as DR. JULIA HARRIS, D.D.S.
Kevin Spacey as DAVE HARKEN
Jamie Foxx as DEAN “MF” JONES
Chris Pine as REX HANSON
Christoph Waltz as BERT HANSON
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Sean Anders
BY KEVIN CARR
Back in 2011, I was surprised by how much I liked the first “Horrible Bosses.” Sure, it looked funny from the trailers, but when all was said and done, it got my vote for funniest film of the year. This makes sense because, while I’m not a huge Jason Sudeikis fan, I always thought Jason Bateman and Charlie Day were pretty hilarious guys. Add to this a stellar supporting cast (even though the much-hyped “topless” scene with Jennifer Aniston was a PG-13 bait-and-switch), and you had one hell of a film.
Making a sequel to such lightning in a bottle can be a real challenge. Sure, the lightning wasn’t as charged with “Horrible Bosses 2,” it was still a lot of fun.
Bateman, Sudeikis and return as Nick, Kurt and Dale, three working stiffs who want to be their own bosses. After developing an all-in-one bathroom product, they enter an agreement with a high-powered businessman and his smarmy son to distribute the product. However, as things go in the cutthroat world of sales, Nick, Kurt and Dale get screwed over, so they decide to get revenge with an ill-conceived kidnapping plot.
The biggest strength for “Horrible Bosses 2” is the story manages to bring back all of the characters from the first film… at least the ones that were left alive. Even Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx get some prime screen time, and Jennifer Aniston reprises her role as the nymphomaniacal dentist (whose character is somewhat forced in there, but I can forgive this considering how funny things end up).
Sure, some of the jokes fall flat in this installment, but enough of them stick to make it worth watching. Newcomers to the cast include Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine, neither of whom are known for their improv delivery but do fit well in the scenes with the comedy stars.
I enjoyed “Horrible Bosses 2” more than I usually do for an unplanned sequel. The Blu-ray comes with the extended version of the film, along with the theatrical version. However, I didn’t notice a huge difference between the two, so either one should be equally watchable.
The “Horrible Bosses 2” Blu-ray combo pack also includes the DVD and the code for online streaming and storage of the movie via UltraViolet (redeemable through February 2018). On the whole, the image quality looks good, except for the opening scene which takes place in a television studio to re-introduce us to our main characters. For some reason, the contrast and color balance was way off for the show-within-a-movie shots. Fortunately, this was only a short portion of the movie, and once the film gets rolling, the picture quality greatly improves.
The special features are pretty standard for what you’d expect on a comedy. There’s no commentary or in-depth look at the film, but there is a meaty 17-minute behind-the-scenes interview set called “Endless Laughter Guaranteed!” that deconstructs the lead actors’ comedy stylings. (However, I’m still wondering how anyone would collect on that guarantee if their laughter was not, in deed, endless. Sadly, this is what happens when marketing gets involved with titling bonus content.)
Additional bonus features include a two-minute fake PSA about Julia’s sex addict group called “Let the Sexual Healing Begin.” Unfortunately, there’s very few laughs in this bit seeing as the basic jokes about sexual addiction went out of style about 15 years ago.
Two short in-character featurettes – “Who Invented the Shower Buddy?” and “Nick Kurt Dale INC.: Employee Testimonials” – are funny enough for their two-minute run times. There’s also a corny “It’s the Shower Buddy – Infomercial” and a behind-the-scenes look at the high-speed car crash from the film.
However, the best part of the special features is the “Off the Cuff: One-Liners You Didn’t See” segments, which features about a dozen different scenes with alternate takes and improvised lines. These can be quite funny and help save the special features slate from mediocrity. After all, any good comedy Blu-ray comes with some quality additional comedy bits in it, and after digging all the way through the menu, you finally get to them.
When all is said and done, “Horrible Bosses 2” isn’t nearly as sharp and fun as the original film – the bonus material does come off as somewhat standard – but it’s still a clever movie that has some good laughs and features a nice reunion of the cast that clicked so well in the first movie.