Horrible Bosses begins with stockbroker Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) telling us in a voiceover that in a lot of businesses no-one ever likes to take shit from anyone, and that such a design for life didn’t work for his grandma who came to the UK with $20 in her pocket and had only turned it into $2000 by the time she died. Nick surmises that the key to success *is* to take shit; and that after 8 years of this, it’s about to pay off with a big promotion and his own office.
His only problem is what stands in his way – his horrible boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey). He’s not the only one, as we’re then introduced to dental assistant Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) who is being sexually harrassed by dentist, Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) and then account manager Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) who doesn’t have to put up with a horrible boss… but does have to deal with his horrible boss’ son, Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell, sporting a very dodgy combover) after the boss, Jack (Donald Sutherland), dies of a heart attack straight after telling Kurt that it’ll be him running the company one day, so that’s clearly knackered his prospects.
To prove how callous he can be, Bobby wants Kurt to “trim the fat”, by which he means fire the fat people. He goes on to add, “They’re lazy, slow and they make me sad to look at.” Instead, Bobby is such a nasty piece of work that he forces Kurt to fire their sole wheelchair-bound employee and then tries to play the victim by making it look like it was all Kurt’s idea.
Dale’s problem is that Julia thinks she can parade about her office wearing little more than a smile and a white coat and that Dale will take it, because she knows he’s a registered sex offender, something that only came about because he was caught urinating in a children’s playground, his defence being it was right next door to a bar and that it was late at night and no kids were about.
Overall, Horrible Bosses starts off brilliantly, with some moments of great dialogue, but turns into a movie that’s not as clever as it thinks it is and a lot of the one-liners just don’t hit home like they should. In addition, the trio’s attempts to hire a hitman lead them to Jamie Foxx, but he only gives them half-assed advice on how to kill someone, rather than doing the job himself – and even then it looks like he’s just phoning it in, making it all rather a waste of his appearance. And while Kevin Spacey is always worth a watch, he never matches his performance as Buddy Ackerman in Swimming with Sharks so that does also serve as an added disappointment.
Out of the three leads, Jason Bateman has far better comic timing than the other two, which means that they are the weak links in the chain. In addition, Jason Sudeikis really doesn’t cut it as his “ladies’ man”-type character he portrays and at one point when Charlie Day’s character ingests cocaine, I can see that the director clearly though it was hilarious about how he subsequently acts all hyper, but it just becomes intensely annoying.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the quality of the print is crisp and clear with no problems on the disc. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
Audio-wise, the film is presented in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, but there’s no notable surround sound, or even split-surround, effects so this doesn’t even begin to get credited as a demo disc.
The extras are as follows, but for a release that makes itself look like a Special Edition, it’s clearly lacking in supplementals:
- My Least Favourite Career (5:01): Director Seth Gordon and key cast members with soundbites about horrible bosses they’ve worked with, mixed with clips from the film.
- Surviving a Horrible Boss (6:29): In a similar style, this piece doesn’t really have a lot of structure to it but there is a brief bit watching towards the end about the stunt work of a particular fantasy sequence early on.
- Being mean is so much fun (7:07): The three horrible bosses talk about why it’s fun to be one.
- Deleted and alternate scenes (10:22): I like the style with this as there’s alternate introduction scenes for Nick and Kurt and part of me feels like some of this would be good to go back into the film, although another part makes me think that they serve better as alternates to watch once you’ve seen the whole thing.
- The Making of the Horrible Bosses soundtrack (6:22): Pretty much does what it says on the tin.
- Live Extras: I’ve never managed to get BD Live Extras to work on any disc. They usually allow you to connect to the Internet Movie Database, or similar, to get extra info, but I think most people will be content with using their PC or mobile for this rather than the disc they’re watching, or even just Tweet/Facebook about it at the time. There’s always bound to be someone online who’s seen it, who can venture an opinion.
- Audio descriptive track: The film with added vocal descriptions for those who have poor or no vision.
The menu is a rather dull static affair with pictures of all the main cast, with the theme tune playing in the background. There are subtitles in English and 12 other languages, which is good, but while I know this is a comedy, someone was clearly having a laugh with giving this title a mere TEN chapters for both versions of the movie. TEN?! That’s utterly ridiculous. I work on a principle of around one every five minutes, which would give us more than double that.
Before the main menu even appears, though, we’re given a trailer for something I’m not going to name because it should be in the extras section and NOT stuck at the front like a rental video.
Running time: 98 minutes (theatrical) / 106 minutes (extended)
Distributor: Warner Home Video
Cat no: 5000132569
Released: November 21st 2011
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio (English only. DD5.1 for the rest)
Languages: English, Castilian Spanish, French, Italian, Thai
Subtitles: English, Cantonese, Castilian Spanish, Complex Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, Thai
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Digital Intermediate (2K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Seth Gordon
Producers: Brett Ratner and Jay Stern
Screenplay: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein
Music: Christopher Lennertz
Nick Hendricks: Jason Bateman
Dale Arbus: Charlie Day
Kurt Buckman: Jason Sudeikis
Dave Harken: Kevin Spacey
Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S.: Jennifer Aniston
Bobby Pellitt: Colin Farrell
Dean ‘MF’ Jones: Jamie Foxx
Jack Pellit: Donald Sutherland
Rhonda Harken: Julie Bowen
Kenny Sommerfeld: P.J. Byrne
Wetwork Man: Ioan Gruffudd
Atmanand: Brian George
Lou Sherman: Bob Newhart
Ralph Peterberg: Seth Gordon
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.