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Plenty of horrible in Horrible Bosses 2

“Horrible Bosses 2” is so horrible a movie that I walked out after 90 minutes of it. Two families preceded me in their disgust. (The kids, to be blunt, shouldn’t have been at this movie in the first place.)

In my case, that means I missed the final 18 minutes of it. So help me, even if the second coming of the Western world’s most-worshipped deity happened during those final 18 minutes, I wouldn’t regret my decision for a second. (Even in this day and age, you have to count on all cable and network news broadcasts to agree on the news value of some news stories. I’m pretty sure I could catch up to a clip of The Second Coming somewhere.) As I was walking out, there was a tiny uptick of audience laughter during the crescendo of predictable foolishness in the movie’s final comedy-kidnapping scenes.

Lest anyone tell me I didn’t have this movie’s best interests at heart, I’ll gleefully admit liking the first “Horrible Bosses” and I’m on the record many times calling Jason Bateman a current master of the comic actor’s trade.

That is the reason I find “Horrible Bosses 2” so horribly unfunny. It is a felonious thing to do to Bateman, who is one of the comedy resources of our cinematic era and who deserves to be treated that way. He should have the biggest talents in Hollywood creating movies for him, not the most negligible.

At least, the original “Bosses” was created by Bateman’s “Arrested Development” friends and had some actual horrible bosses in its upscale update of the Three Stooges. Not this time. There’s just a cutthroat businessman (played by Christoph Waltz) and his slime-bucket narcissistic son (Chris Pine) who is all gung-ho about pretending to be a kidnapped businessman to bilk his father.

Bateman’s two doofus buddies are again played by Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, both of whom chatter constantly and frantically throughout the movie and never in an amusing way. They’ve all been royally hoodwinked by Waltz and Pine and need some quick cash to stay in business.

At that point, the greedy son and even greedier father fall into opposite camps, thereby supposedly negating everything the audience has come to despise about the son for so brutally mistreating his Mexican-American housemaid.

You can call that whatever you want. I call it scriptwriting incompetence. The writers of a movie called “Horrible Bosses” should have a fair idea who is horrible in their movie and not get confused about it. If they do, someone should trash the script and start over with people who are real writers.

I laughed exactly twice in 90 minutes. The first time in a simulated shower scene demonstrating the boys’ “Shower Buddy” product, where the silhouetted version of the action indicated a good deal more filthy doings than were really happening. The second was during the all-too-condensed antics of Jennifer Aniston, returning as a sex-addicted dentist, the only truly funny thing in the whole “HB” franchise.

There was a movie there somewhere. Really.

To make it, though, they would have to get rid of everyone but Bateman and Aniston and start over with them playing their original characters.

Needless to say, all of the outrageous raunch of the Aniston character – so riotously at odds with her sweetheart girl next door image – would have made that comedy one of the most outrageous of the year. And one of the riskiest.

But for all of that, it might have been funny. Really funny.

Not this one. It is, like the original “Horrible Bosses” and the recent “Dumb and Dumber” sequel, a profoundly terrible movie in every way. But unlike those two movies, it’s horribly and painfully unfunny – never more so than when its cast members are working hardest to be what they’re not.

My advice: Don’t sit through this thing in a movie theater. If ever a movie screamed at the top of its lungs to be watched by people in possession of a fast-forward button, it’s this one.



1.5 stars

Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Charlie Day, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Kevin Spacey

Director: Sean Anders

Running time: 108 minutes

Rating: R for constant crude language and plot, sexual references and some nudity.

The Lowdown: Three supremely stupid pals go into business together and have to resort to kidnapping to remain solvent.

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