Here’s the thing about comedy sequels: you’re kind of screwed no matter what. People obviously loved the first installment because it was popular enough to prompt a second film, but a comedy premise can really only go so far. You run into dangerous territory when you try to recreate the exact same effect with a re-used storyline (I’m looking at you Hangover 2) or if you hit the same humour but lose the fresh hilarity of the original (Anchorman 2). Unfortunately you’ll also lose out if you stray too far from the original and leave fans disappointed.
I was not expecting to enjoy the original Horrible Bosses as much as I did, and I think the surprise factor was part of what made me such a fan. Going into the sequel with slightly higher expectations may have been my downfall. That being said, Horrible Bosses 2 was a solidly funny movie. I LOL’ed, I cringed, I saw Jennifer Aniston say and do ridiculously over the top sexual things, so overall I’d say I got what I paid for.
Nick, Kurt and Dale were last seen attempting to murder the bosses who were making each of their lives miserable. In the sequel they’re going into business for themselves, building something from the ground up in order to right the wrongs of bosses everywhere by being the best kind of employers. When they end up getting scammed and risk going bankrupt, consequently putting all of their new employees out of work, they devise a crazy scheme to kidnap the son of their nemesis and use the ransom money to get back on their feet. Inevitably things go very, very wrong and hilarity ensues.
For a somewhat formulaic trio – the idiot, the cool guy and the straight man – Charlie Day, Jason Sudekis and Jason Bateman are pretty great together. It’s some genius casting. Whether they’re arguing over Dora The Explorer walkie-talkies or eating liquorice during a police chase, there’s some undeniable chemistry there. I think that’s really what made the movie work for me – I could probably just watch the three of them talk to each other all day and not get bored.
In terms of story, it was different enough but definitely not as strong as the original. It could have used a lot more Kevin Spacey. While I admire the attempt to write him into the story, because he is a great character and I would have been extremely disappointed without him, the plot connection there is pretty weak. After putting him in jail, would they really go to this guy for advice and expect him to be helpful? It seemed a bit half-assed.
For a light, non-chick-flick movie that won’t leave you depressed or contemplative or angry or sad, I’d say this is your best bet in theatres right now. There are a lot of bad comedies in the world and this is not one of them. See it if you’re bored, skip it if you have better things to do.