Horrible Bosses 2: The glorious return of the Three Stooges—Day, Sudeikis, and Bateman

—by Michael Bamford & Gabriel Yoder-Shenk—

Horrible Bosses 2, directed by Sean Anders, could have been a failure.  For instance, when excited fans of The Hangover went to see The Hangover Part II, they were presented with a carbon copy of the first film that used the same plot elements with minor changes to details: in short, a movie that was less funny, with no originality.  Horrible Bosses 2 could have done exactly the same thing, but it didn’t.  Its title exists because it is a continuation of the plot of the first movie, not a replica.

As a result, Horrible Bosses 2 is just as funny as its predecessor, just as absurd, and just as original, maintaining the same enjoyable characters.

Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) are fed up with answering to bosses, so they invent the Shower Buddy, a tool that makes a shower faster and more water-efficient, and start their own business.  Then, a savvy investor tricks the three new businessmen, forcing them to disregard the law and take matters into their own hands to try to save their company.

Horrible Bosses 2 has a  quirky plot and script.  The characters embark on an outrageous and impossible mission, finding their way around obstacles through blind luck and ridiculous logic.  The exchanges between Hendricks, Buckman, and Arbus are reminiscent of the three stooges—a bunch of idiots who have no idea what is going on and stumble their way through even the simplest tasks.  Although this gets a little old by the end of the movie, it is the source of a lot of humor throughout the film.

Many times during the film, these characters let their emotions take control of their actions, instead of understanding the situation.  During a car chase scene, Nick, Kurt, and Dale need to reach their destination before the investor’s son does, but they need the police to follow them there.  They eventually see a train speeding along the tracks and instinctively “lose the cops” by crossing the tracks moments before the train passes—but then, seconds later, they remember that they need the police to follow them.  This unexpected and original moment results in humorous banter about whether Dale will have enough time to go to the bathroom before the train completely passes.

Scenes like these are found throughout the movie and are the main reason why this sequel is such a success.  The originality behind these creative scenes paves the way for the quick, back-and-forth dialogue that plays so well for these three stooges.  Day’s squeaky voice, Bateman’s dry humor, and Sudeikis’s outrageously likeable mannerisms unite to create one of the most rigorous ab workouts you’ll ever get from watching a movie.

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