Horrible Bosses 2 – Film Review

Horrible Bosses 2

I quite enjoyed Horrible Bosses. I didn’t love it but there was a simple plot, actors I liked, and I didn’t spend the duration angry, bored, and offended. The same cannot be said for the sequel.

The plot of Horrible Bosses was straight forward. The three leads played by Charlie Day, Jason Bateman, and Jason Sudeikis all hated their bosses and so collectively decided to help one another murder their superiors. Hilarity, of a sort, ensued and everything was wrapped up neatly at the end. Horrible Bosses 2 stumbles into the room ignoring its own pointlessness and established the trio as having moved on from their happy endings to set up a business together. Having been tricked by a greedy entrepreneur, Christoph Waltz continuing to accept any role offered, they find themselves deep in debt and with their fledgling company under threat. Rather than work their way out of trouble they quickly decide to raise funds by kidnapping their nemesis’ bratty son in the shape of Chris Pine.

And so begins a kidnapping caper filled with twists, turns, and attempts at humour. Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Aniston, and Kevin Spacey all pop up to reprise their roles from the first film as a miscellaneous criminal, sex-obsessed rapist, and murderous psychopath respectively. None are needed for the plot but all are essential to keep fans of the original from realising this isn’t the same film. Because that is the sense I got throughout the film; that it was doing its best to appease fans and then throwing enough random ideas at the screen to keep everyone distracted until it was all over.

Horrible Bosses 2 Still

The plot of Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t actually that of a comedy. The plot of kidnapping and double-crossing is not inherently funny, and certainly not funny in practise, so instead the hard work is left to Day, Bateman, and Sudeikis. The three actors are left to improvise and fill scenes with the jokes that the seven writers failed to put in themselves. The constant ad libbing means that every scene ends up feeling exactly the same as the leads talk over each other in a way that rapidly grates more and more each time. Any laughs that do come are thanks to the work of Charlie Day who plays the fool to the interchangeable straight man roles played by Bateman and Sudeikis. When your three main characters don’t have three distinct personalities you are in trouble.

When Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t hoping you will laugh at three straight white men it is using the casting of any actor outside of that demographic as a comedic device. All women were either sex objects or comedy foreign characters and I urge you to try finding a black man in the film that isn’t a criminal. Throw in some mildly homophobic dialogue and Horrible Bosses 2 can rest easy knowing it has managed to turn everyone into a stereotype worthy of denigration. Comedy like this simply shouldn’t exist any more and had me shifting in my seat in discomfort.

As you might have been able to tell by now I really did not enjoy Horrible Bosses 2. There were too many unscripted moments of uncontrolled ad libbing and not enough well crafted comedy. The questionable use of any character who wasn’t both white and male was indefensible. I laughed a few times thanks to Charlie Day but for the rest of the film I was cringing and even worse, a little bored.

Horrible Bosses 2 is in UK cinemas from 28th November 2014 and is to be avoided at all costs.

Django Unchained – Film Review

Django Unchained

Finally crafting the Western we know has been coming since 1992 Quentin Tarantino is as unchained as his titular character, unleashing a 3-hour behemoth with more racism, more violence, and more Spaghetti music than we could ever have imagined.

Django first appeared on our screens in 1966 as a white drifter with piercing blue eyes and a machine gun. Since then the character has become an eponymous figure in the Western film, unofficially featuring in thirty-one ‘sequels’. Now Jamie Foxx takes the form of a different Django but with eyes just as piercing, pistol-slinging skills just as unrivalled and a heart just as vengeful.

Unchained sees slave Django become a free man by the hand of slavery-hating German immigrant dentist-turned-bounty hunter, Dr King Schultz, played with insane suavity by the charismatic Christoph Waltz. After Schultz Pretty Woman‘s Django into an excellent bounty hunter the pair’s unlikely and extremely frowned upon partnership develops from associate to kinship so much so that when Django sets out to retrieve his wife from the cordial but brutal plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) Schultz agrees to help him on his potentially suicidal mission.

After closing Inglourious Basterds with the tongue in cheek “This might just be my masterpiece,” Tarantino was clearly very happy with where the film had taken him as an artist. He had once again adopted and owned a new aesthetic style, seizing every bit of WWII iconography and paraphernalia possible and piecing together a genre film of unparalleled quality.

Django Unchained 3

Somehow outdoing himself once more Django Unchained is a Western film Best Of, borrowing iconic visuals, musical tones and characters left and right, once more blurring the line between homage and rip-off, but with Tarantino’s staple wit providing the gold that separates his film from all others when sifting the proverbial gold pan of the genre.

Of course, aesthetic glories and a genius script are nothing without an equally impressive cast. Luckily, another staple of a Tarantino film is impeccable casting. In a film with such bold themes only bold actors could thrive. Foxx and Waltz’s chemistry is compelling, funny and genuine as the pair riff through racism and work with graceful charisma. Perhaps most impressive is DiCaprio’s turn as the villainous Candie, whose immersion into the despicable character is a feat that cannot have been easy. Kerry Washington is sadly underused as Django’s wife, Broomhilda but in her short screen time she captivates the audience as much as Samuel L Jackson makes us simultaneously squirm and laugh.

Django Unchained is as funny as it is blunt; as violent as it is beautiful; as statement-making as it is simply a love letter from Tarantino to the genre. Some have challenged Django Unchained as much as some have praised it, and I can’t tell you what to make of it on some fronts but I can tell you that I sincerely hope it picks up that golden statuette next month.

Anti-white bigotry. Exploitative black racism. Masterpiece. There is something for everyone in Django Unchained.