Partly why the preceding Horrible Bosses endeavour was such a success is because it was identifiable, in an overtly cinematic, heightened take on reality kind of way. The entire sentiment behind the accomplished comedy was to play on the notion of having a dire boss; someone who tells you what to do every single day, until you reach breaking point. It’s something many of us can jokingly relate to, and who hasn’t had a daydream where they imagine their boss “accidentally” falling down a flight of stairs? But in this superfluous sequel, our protagonists aren’t discernible, victimised employees anymore: they’re three imbeciles who are impossible to invest in.
They are, of course, Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day), who have all become entrepreneurs, and are thrilled to learn that businessman Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) has agreed to manufacture their product. However given their distinct ineptitude and naivety, he seeks only in bleeding them dry of every penny their ‘Shower Buddy’ creation can make, and so in a bid to seek revenge – and save themselves from bankruptcy – they decide to kidnap his conceited, unhinged son, Rex (Chris Pine).
With a change in the director’s chair, we see Sean Anders (That’s My Boy) take over the reigns, but he can do little to illuminate this mediocre screenplay, which, coincidentally, he helped to write. The problem is, our three leads are so cretinous that we simply can’t root for them. Kurt spends most of his time objectifying women, while Jennifer Aniston’s sex-obsessed Julia Harris owns up to some rather untoward fantasies that evokes a feeling of uneasiness, rather than the intended laughter.
Fortunately, Bateman’s Nick remains an affectionately conventional creation, playing heavily on the comedic trope whereby the one ‘sane’ character is actually as screwed up as his accomplices, a technique which lays the foundations for the likes of Father Ted and Laurel and Hardy. But it’s a small ray of light in an otherwise disastrous piece of cinema. Even the outtakes that roll during the closing credits, which are the easiest, cheapest form of comedy there is, are unfunny. Now we must pray to the Hollywood Gods that we never have to sit through a third!