AWFJ Women On Film – “Horrible Bosses” – Review by Susan Granger

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It’s a terrific premise for a farce because – who hasn’t had a horrible boss? And how much abuse is an employee willing to take before he actually considers committing coldly calculated murder?

That’s the dilemma faced by a trio of likeable losers who are trapped in workplace agony, a situation underscored by the arid job market. Uptight Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) is constantly humiliated by sadistic CEO Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey, channeling “Swimming With Sharks”). After his beloved mentor (Donald Sutherland), unexpectedly dies, Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) finds himself at the mercy of his coked-up, amoral son, Bobby Pellit (almost unrecognizable Colin Farrell), who inherits the family’s chemical business. And whiny Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) is a dutiful dental technician who is sexually harassed on a daily – if not hourly – basis by predatory Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston).

Desperate but admittedly inept, they each pay $5,000 to an ex-con, Dean “Motherf***er” Jones (Jamie Foxx), who advises them how to assassinate their tormentors. Of course, lacking experience, knowledge and basic common sense, the three stooges bungle their way into one misadventure after another, emerging predictably victorious.

Writers Mark Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein set up the nasty, if contrived, workplace situations, including sitcom-like one-liners and unexpected cinematic references – like Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train.” After the set-up, however, the screenplay seems to flounder, particularly in a motel urination sequence. Nevertheless, director Seth Gordon (“Four Christmases,” “Freakonomics”) is savvy enough to let his competent cast display their expert comedic timing, particularly Jamie Foxx as the tough ex-con ‘consultant.’

Despite working only five days on the film, Jennifer Aniston has been garnering the most publicity because of her blatantly sexy attire and brunette wig. Aniston conscientiously, if self-consciously, spews smut and obscenities, obviously playing the vamp against her charming, carefully cultivated, good-girl “Friends” TV image.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Horrible Bosses is an outrageously crude, silly 6 – but be prepared for rampant misogyny and gross vulgarity. And there’s a blooper reel that runs during the concluding credits.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.