Proving that not all sequels follow the tried and tested method of copying the original script but changing the location, Horrible Bosses 2 is rather admirably not worse than the original. Although it’s not much better either. Reuniting the original cast along with newcomers Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine, proves successful, while cameos from Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston help bring notable and memorable scenes, which films like this depend on.
Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) are back, and this time they want to be entrepreneurs. Their invention is the ˜shower buddy,’ which combines a shower head with a shampoo dispenser. However their attempts to get into business with shower mogul Bert Hanson (Waltz) and his playboy son Rex (Pine) prove disastrous and they must once again enlist the help of Motherf*cker Jones (Jamie Foxx) to help them sort out their problem.
The idea of having the ˜horrible bosses’ of the title be far bigger stars than the leads proves reasonably successful again. For their parts the central trio appear to have learnt nothing and developed in no discernible way. This isn’t a big problem as the majority of the comedy comes from their inability to see the potential consequences of their actions.
Once again the show-stealer is Jamie Foxx, who brings the funny as the murder/kidnap consultant and he is the reason to watch the film. New director Sean Anders thankfully manages to prevent them from going improvisation-heavy with the dialogue and the result is a far tighter script, with better pacing. But the same old problems of cheap humour, lazy punchlines and predictability strike and you’re reminded of why the first film didn’t always work.
Where the original did get it right was in the chaotic and dark energy it produced, and this is the one thing missing from this far tamer sequel. Sure Jennifer Aniston still delivers the dirty, but she is a lone voice in a sea of apathetic action set-pieces. Waltz is completely wasted, while Pine gives the film an adrenaline shot about half-way through, but by then it’s too late in the day.