Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon, 2011) -- C+

Judd Apatow's reign now extends past the productions he's not even associated with - Horrible Bosses reeks of said director/producer's brand of man-child antics, improv mixed with scripted material, and crude-but-cuddly humor. Seth Gordon's film has a veneer of noir ethos, but the schema is wholly toothless, predicated on naughty words and erratic behavior over situational causality, which would follow the should-be nasty premise to its proper ends (while revealing nuance about work-place dynamics). Instead, the lout characters at the helm are treated as darlings, inept but still nice guys, whose decision to kill their tyrannical bosses is essentially just another frat-boy premise ploy, a vehicle for ridiculousness rather than legitimate consideration. Here's yet another "raunchy" comedy that thinks drug gags (accidentally inhaling cocaine), bad words (nympho Jennifer Aniston gets to talk about her female parts in various terms), and awkward racial dynamics constitute provocative material. For all its mugging, Horrible Bosses never excavates any of the horror implied in its title - this is simply date night fodder. Blame not the cast, which from top to bottom is quite excellent, excluding the incessantly whiny Charlie Day. Too timid to activate any underlying implications that would challenge contemporary comedic convention rather than conform, the flick is funny, but lacking sufficient gall.

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