Horrible Bosses 2

While Horrible Bosses 2 is not entirely horrible, it is still a carbon copy of the first film.

You know something is not quite right when the original director and screenwriters are not involved in the making of a sequel. While some sequels have actually benefited from new scriptwriters and a different director, Horrible Bosses 2, if anything, stands testament to an age old maxim – ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broke’.

What made Horrible Bosses a laugh out riot was a funny yet believable story about three white collar stiffs locking horns with their evil bosses. More than just an outrageous comedy, it was a dark fantasy appealing to every Tom, Dick and Harriet cursed with an over demanding boss. At some point, that fantasy works with universal reference to almost anyone watching that film. What worked well in the first film also ended with that film because original director Seth Gordon ensured there weren’t many loose ends. One of the main problems with this sequel is the fact that there isn’t an actual boss. After the farce that left one boss dead (Colin Farrell) and another in prison (Kevin Spacey), Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) return as potential entrepreneurs of a bathroom gizmo they call ‘Shower Buddy’. But even before they sell their product, the trio is fleeced by real billionaire entrepreneur Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz). Now calling themselves Nickkurtdale Inc, (pronounced as one word, this is even used as a racial gag), they then retort to the dark side by contracting the services of their former no-good advisor – Dean “MF” Jones. Returning as Jones, Jamie Foxx has the best lines in the film and somehow stays above the rest with nothing but amusing screen presence. With a little poking and prodding from Jones, Nickkurtdale devices the perfect plan – kidnap Hanson’s equally ruthless son Rex (Chris Pine) as revenge and ransom. Problem is, Rex hates his father too, thus setting up this sequel into a heist of sorts.

 Gone is the chemistry between the three leads. Instead, they are written off as imbeciles. A major chunk of Horrible Bosses 2 is made up of whining and bickering from Nick and Kurt, and high pitched squealing from Dale, who turns out to be the team’s dimwit with a retarded solution for every situation they encounter. If this is director Sean Anders and a trio of new scriptwriters’ way of saying that office workers barely think outside their cubicle, they may be on to something by reiterating that a boss is only as horrible as an employee allowing said boss to remain so. That tick aside, everything else is mere copy-paste from the original including an almost ditto ending.

With the story remaining the same, albeit without any real boss, the only difference is watching actors play concentrated versions of their former characters. Fans of the first film can revel in two short scenes that bring back Spacey, now a criminal with even more wicked sarcasm, while those who fantasized having Jennifer Aniston as a man-eater boss is in for another steamy treat. On the other hand, new additions played by Pine and Waltz aren’t penned with enough gusto, especially if like me, you go in expecting maniacal devotion from the latter. At best, Horrible Bosses 2 is a re-written version of the first film. At worst, it is unnecessarily re-written. But if you decide to watch this sequel, the best thing you can do is highly recommend it to your boss; just don’t blame me if you get fired.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.