Director: Sean Anders
Stars: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey
Following on from the ordeals at escaping their last jobs, Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis), and Dale (Day) are attempting to set up their own business. However, a high-profile investor (Waltz) takes advantage of their lack of business acumen and the three men face losing everything. With no other option, they hatch a hare-brained scheme to kidnap Rex (Pine), the investor’s son, and ransom him to get their money back.
Horrible Bosses 2 is a rare comedy sequel in that it doesn’t attempt to follow the same plot as the first film. It could have quite easily had the three men facing another trio of horrible bosses and throw out a rehashed script. Instead, they came up with a fresh plot that follows on from the original , although the characters that do return fit in organically with the story. Instead of murder this time the crime is kidnap and there are some good jokes as the guys realize they do actually now qualify as criminals. The main strength of the movie is the dynamic energy between the cast. The way they bounce off each other is endearingly entertaining and you can’t help but laugh at their antics.
Pine is good as the smarmy son of the investor and there are some funny father-son moments between him and Waltz. Foxx is used sparingly, which is good as his character doesn’t overstay his welcome. The whole film feels pretty slick and moves at a brisk pace, and the plot doesn’t feel forced.
So it’s pretty good right? Well, I chuckled quite a lot but there’s some glaring problems that mean I can’t recommend it at all. Sadly, Horrible Bosses 2 has some of the most glaring sexism I’ve ever seen in the film. There are some mild spoilers here as I illustrate the nature of the sexism, but I hope the nature of the rant is justified in spoiling certain parts of the film.
The most obvious parts that immediately jumped out at me were centered around Jennifer Aniston’s character. She’s now part of a sex addiction support group that meets at her office, and Nick finds himself involved and inadvertently implies that he had homosexual experiences in his early teenage years at a camp. Julie (Aniston) is intrigued by this and presses him for details, and it’s clear that she’s aroused by this talk of 14 year old boys sharing a sexual experience. Now, if the situation were reversed and it was a man getting turned on by a woman describing her experience as a 14 year old…yeah. Later on one of the characters is in a coma and Julie mentions that she had sex with him multiple times while he was in a coma. Funny right? Haha. Yeah. There’s a word for that, it’s called rape.
Again, if the situations were reversed and it was a male character admitting that he had sex multiple times there would be outcry. So why is this type of humour tolerated? It needs to be stamped out because it only exists to perpetuate this weird double standard that exists. It’s completely juvenile and it made me uncomfortable while I was watching it. It just speaks to a complete lack of awareness on whoever wrote those jokes, and even on the other members of the film crew. I find it difficult, and sad, to believe that no-one spoke up and wondered if what they were doing was actually okay.
In addition to this, a running ‘gag’ is that Dale’s wife thinks he’s cheating on him, it’s not an original joke by any means and the wife really isn’t given much development through the film. At the end she’s shown to have struck up a rapport with Julie, and Julie tells Dale that she’s going to seduce his wife, and there’s a strong hint that the two women are already engaged in some level of intimacy. Again, this weird double standard where adultery is wrong…unless it’s with two hot women ohhhhhhh yeahhhhhh *snicker*. Ugh. Seriously people, this stuff needs to be stopped.
Finally, there’s a part of the film where a woman is grouped in with a bunch of other objects classed as ‘cool shit’ that Rex shows off. She’s literally objectified and this is just unjustifiable on any level. It’s not cool folks, and it’s not something that I’m going to put my support behind. So although I was mostly entertained overall by Horrible Bosses 2 I’m going to suggest that people avoid it because the type of sexism it displays should be archaic by now and I’m disappointed that it’s still so insidious and prevalent in films.