'You would have to admit our lives would be easier if our bosses weren't alive'
Three friends – a corporate sales executive, a small business manager and a dental assistant – have each become disenchanted with their work lives. They lay the blame for their collective unhappiness on their respective bosses, and propose to do something about them.
The first of the horrible bosses, Harkin (played by Kevin Spacey) is a sadistic, power-hungry corporate director who runs rings around the hardworking Nick (Jason Bateman) and disappoints the entire office by announcing that he has chosen himself as the new Vice-President. Nick's mantra that 'the key to success is taking sh*t' is blown out of the water.
The second boss, Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell) is a paranoid, workshy cokehead who cares little for the humanitarian work practices of his well-liked business-owning father (Donald Sutherland), fears disabled people and loathes the obese. He picks on Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) because he knows that Kurt is the son his father never had.
The third and final of the horrible bosses is Dr Harris (Jennifer Aniston), a foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed dentist who will stop at nothing to convince her assistant Dale (Charlie Day) to have sex with her. When he won't consent to having an affair, she threatens to tell his fiancee that are having one anyhow.
So, the three high school chums decide to kill the lot of them.
That, of course, is when Horrible Bosses starts to fall down. Before that pivotal moment, the three main characters were likeable and believable – their workplace predicaments preposterous but, sadly, not too far outside the realms of reality. It is only when they finally decide on homicide as their only means of achieving professional satisfaction that Horrible Bosses becomes too damn silly for its own good.
Despite what comes next plot-wise, Horrible Bosses is hilarious throughout, in a frat party comedy kind of way.
The three bosses are suitably grotesque, with Aniston the funniest of the three. Watching the former Friends star and rom-com stalwart swear like a trooper (or a hardcore porn star dressed in a dentist's uniform, to be more precise) is shocking and pleasing (from an artistic point of view, of course). Perhaps, finally, she's found the role that will help her to reinvent herself.
Farrell pulls off the ticks and delusional outbursts of a cokehead to perfection (hardly surprising), and with his horrible comb over and fat suit stomach, comes across as the boss you would most like to do away with.
There are some surprising cameos, too, with Jamie Foxx as 'murder consultant' Motherf*cker Jones and Modern Family's Julie Bowen playing a richer, more sexually repressed version of Claire Dunphy. And the script is tight, despite the plot being somewhat overblown.
In the end, by a series of unintentional mishaps, the horrible bosses get their just desserts. Nick, Kurt and Dale are £5k out of pocket and all the richer (professionally speaking) for it. I just wish that the bosses had been brought down to earth in a less cartoonish fashion. The more realistic their downfalls, the more vicarious satisfaction us viewers could derive from their collective demise.
Horrible Bosses shows in Movie House Cinemas from July 22.