Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis return as the world’s unlikeliest criminals in Horrible Bosses 2. After taking care of their own bosses in the first movie our protagonists have now decide to become their own bosses – thus we have the premise for our movie.
Now this sequel does a lot right. Horrible Bosses 2 uses the same premise as before but to explore new territory. What this sequel could have done (and which is what a lot of comedy sequels do) is repeat the original plot. While done to great effect with many comedies, in this case the screenwriters chose to actually progress their characters, taking the natural next step for them. Not wanting to be in the same situation ever again, the three decide to go into business together. Instead of horrible bosses our antagonists come up against two horrible investors.
These are the antagonists of the film, Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine. Chris Pine doesn’t exactly do anything new here but plays his part very well. Better known as rebellious playboy Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboots, Pine brings all of this to the role, lacking any of the redeemable qualities that allowed us to like Kirk. This works very well to set him up as the spoiled millionaire son, greedy, ruthless and ultimately a very good villain.
Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston all make a return – with two out of the three of them actually having relevance. Jamie Foxx as the misunderstood criminal consultant acts out the same purpose as previously. Jennifer Aniston once again plays a sex-crazed maniac and is just as seductive as first time around. In fact Aniston does a lot to provide most of the comedic moments of the film with crazy risqué dialogue.
Yet some parts are disappointing. Kevin Spacey is completely wasted, for instance. With an actor of Spacey’s calibre, including him in completely throwaway scenes is itself a crime, especially given just how good he was last time at playing such a despicable boss. Granted, Spacey gives it his all and there is one line he delivers which sums up the entire basis of the movie, but he wasn’t needed and so it would probably have been better to have left him out.
Another standout performer who just wasn’t given the opportunity to do so was Christoph Waltz. The man that brought us the charismatic bounty hunter in Django Unchained, the Jew Hunter in Inglorious Bastards and the one saving grace in the terrible Green Hornet movie, was completely wasted. Once again this is not the actor’s fault, merely that his character was underwritten for the level of charisma we have grown used to from him.
Using the film’s stars to their full potential really would have solved the main problem: the lack of any standout moments. There are no lines you will be quoting as you walk out the cinema with your friends, nor scenes you’ll be talking about. Just a few funny moments to make you chuckle. As said before the trio is great. Their chemistry as a comedic group is fantastic, just as it was in the first. However, what makes them really funny is when they interact with other characters in the film and that just isn’t present here besides a few forgettable moments.
Horrible Bosses 2 is not a bad comedy. It’s not even a bad movie, it goes in some interesting new directions and the interactions between the three main leads is worth the price of a ticket alone. Yet not taking full advantage of its impressive cast and lacking any memorable moments holds the film back from being the laugh out loud comedy that the first was.