Like it or not, we live in a world where any ol’ movie that’s successful in the least is going to get sequelized because studios think people will say, “Oh, that’s the same as that other thing I liked; I should see that because nothing can ever be different,” forgetting to take into account that people went to see the first thing in the first place knowing nothing about it. Regardless, this means that we can’t just have Horrible Bosses in our film-centric brains, we have to now have Horrible Bosses 2 featuring most of the main cast and nodding toward the first one many times. But, unlike a lot of these “well hey let’s make a sequel” sequels, Horrible Bosses 2 is actually really funny.
Directed by Sean Anders, who’s written or co-written such comedies as Sex Drive, Hot Tub Time Machine, and We’re the Millers, this sequel to the surprisingly profitable 2011 film takes its three hapless, dumb, and morally questionable heroes down another fork of the criminal path when yet another hopeless situation in their work life arises. The set-up is even more contrived than the previous film, but it goes to places the first one didn’t in terms of weird heist movie tropes.
The three dopes, Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) have all quit their respective jobs and gone into business together to create a thing called “The Shower Buddy,” an all-in-one, timed shower system that people in Sharper Image or reading SkyMall would totally buy. After an appearance on local television, they’re called in for a meeting with a huge distribution company exec Rex Hanson (Chris Pine), son of shrewd business magnate Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz). They get offered a lot of money to sell their product to the Hansons, but, perhaps foolishly, they decide they just want to bet on themselves and keep the business. After making 100,000 units for Hanson, the billionaire reveals that he’s screwed them out of the patent and they’re now $500,000 in the hole. Without much choice, except literally a million other things, they decide the best course of action will be to kidnap Rex and hold him for ransom from his father. Things get worse for them from there.
This is a surprisingly plotty movie, but ultimately none of that matters. The Shower Buddy is just the MacGuffin that gets everything going and what we’re really watching, and why the movie easily passed the six laugh test (if it can make me laugh six times, it’s a successful comedy no matter how stupid), is the chemistry between Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis. Those three guys bantering and blathering on and on is never not hilarious. I still applaud the idea to get three of the best ad-libbers on the planet in one movie, and that’s what most of the first film’s success was based on. They just ARE funny, and bickering funny people might be my favorite thing in the world.
Seeing as it’s a sequel, though, we also had to get some of the other remaining cast members, like Jennifer Aniston as the sex-addicted dentist, Kevin Spacey as the murderous businessman, and Jamie Foxx as the all-purpose thug who doesn’t actually partake in much illegal activity, Motherf**er Jones. Hey, if you can get them all back, why wouldn’t you? Pine shows how good he is at being a slimy douchebag while Waltz doesn’t show us anything he hasn’t already won two Oscars for, except maybe golf. There’s also a really great performance from Jonathan Banks as the police detective who’s on the trail of these idiots.
This movie is just as dumb as the first one but also just as funny. I laughed several times in spite of myself. It’s not the best comedy ever but it’s very well acted and directed and its comedy comes from a number of different types of humor (the requisite dick-related jokes are certainly there) and if you liked the first one I’m sure you’ll like this one once the plot gets going and you can just watch funny people be funny.