Often there is no point reviewing a comedy film because what’s funny can be so subjective. It doesn’t matter when the actors are rubbish or the plot makes no sense if it makes you laugh. But I’m making the effort for Horrible Bosses, because it is a good film, with a great cast and it is hilarious.
For a start, the premise is funny, onto which a fiendish plot is built. I don’t mean to sound surprised or flippant! But when was the last time you saw a comedy movie that had an actual plot driven story? Just look at The Hangover II; funny as hell, but the story was so dumb and repetitive, it was almost depressing. But the first Hangover was successful because the characters were realistic and as well as a good plot, Horrible Bosses has the same sort of people. The bosses themselves are absurd, but the employees are largely normal, caught up in a silly situation.
While Anchorman was genuinely hilarious, like all Will Ferrell and/or Ben Stiller films of recent years, it relied on ridiculous characters. That’s getting old and audiences needed a change. Meanwhile Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) seems to have lost momentum to Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) who has nevertheless failed to capture the same balance of sentimental crudeness Smith was so good at. At least Will Gluck’s Easy A recaptured the teen comedy last year in superb style, and now Seth Gordon is doing the same thing for grown-ups with Horrible Bosses.