Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses is a fairly timely comedy about three friends (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day) who love their jobs but hate their respective bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston) and feel the only way their lives will get better is if they kill their employers. Of course, nothing goes according to plan. It has a strong cast and everyone seems to be having a good time, particularly the bosses themselves. This one gets bonus points from me for having Charlie Day of Always Sunny fame and everything could use more Charlie Day. Also, I encountered a boss that wasn’t too far off from Colin Farrell’s character, only missing the illegal activity and the martial arts obsession.
I remember when this came out, many were confused why the protagonists would go to such great lengths when they could just quit their jobs but the film does a very good job at making the stakes very high, with two characters being told their bosses will make sure to ruin their reputations if they quit and Sedeikis’ boss making deals that will danger the environment. Aniston’s character even tries to blackmail Day’s character into sleeping with her. The three bumble their way through devising a plan with help of the most dangerous guy they can get to talk to them, Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx) who acts tough but ends up having a very tame rap sheet.
You can really tell this film was a treat to make for the cast. The three bosses are so over the top awful, who wouldn’t want to act that badly with no consequences? This isn’t the first time Spacey played a boss so terrible he inspired his underlings to cause him bodily harm (See his performance in Swimming With Sharks) and he hurls insults with the best of them, but for Farrell and Aniston, these characters were a change of pace. Farrell had dropped out of the spotlight after a string of disappointing films, and returns as the almost unrecognizable Bobby Pellitt. Bald and paunchy, Farrell is a far cry from his usual charming self. It reminded everyone how much fun he is to watch, allowing him to return to leading man roles in big blockbusters life the upcoming Total Recall remake. And Jennifer Aniston is anything but the girl next door as she sexually harasses her assistant played by Day. She’s raunchy, getting all the most jaw dropping bits of dialogue and makes every action uncomfortably sexual. It’s roles like this one that make we think Aniston may be cooler than her typical film persona makes her out to be. Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day are what you expect but they gel well as longtime friends even though in real life they wouldn’t be the right ages to be former classmates.
Good movie to watch after a stressful day at work. Very relatable plot for these troubled economic times. While not a stand-out, it’s an enjoyable 98 minutes with a solid cast.

Office Space

In my experience, everyone who works for a software company swears their job is right out of Office Space. Another gem from the apparently magic year of film that was 1999, this film is always universally relatable because who hasn’t had a job or boss they hated? The film has a lot of familiar faces and was written Mike Judge before he was usurped by Matt Park and Trey Stone as the king of seemingly dumb but topically brilliant comedy. Ron Livingstone (who really should get more work because he’s always enjoyable) lives everyone fantasy as he is hypnotized to no longer care about his job and sets out to rob the company blind.

Peter Gibbons hates his life. He has a soul-sucking job and suspects that his girlfriend is cheating on him. He sees a hypnotherapist to learn how to cope with his unsatisfying job, but when the therapist dies during the session. Peter is stuck in a hypnotized state, and no longer cares about his job. Ironically, the less he cares, the more the consultants looking to fire people are impressed by him. So, he gets a promotion for slacking off at work, while his hard working co-workers are days away from being laid off. Armed with this information, Peter encourage his friends to join him in screwing the company through a computer virus.

Much of Initech’s policies are still used today. Companies across the country ask consultants to help them cut costs but letting people go, outsourcing jobs and asking those employees they keep to work a little harder for the good of the company. This film continues to speak to viewers because it continues to be reality. A character like Stephen Root’s Milton is an ultimate  symbol of the American worker, as he is pushed further and further by his many bosses until he burns the building to the ground.

Every once in a while Jennifer Aniston shows she may be cooler than many of her career choices would make her seem. While she’s most famous fro Friends and mindless romantic comedies, she’ll surprise you every few years by doing something edgier. This was one of her first non-Rachel type roles and it suits her. She’s fun as the Kung Fu loving, slightly grumpy chain restaurant waitress. For years I only saw this movie on Comedy Central, so I had never seen her best moment, when she flips off her flair loving boss.

The movie was not hit at the box office but became a success on video. It’s one of those movies that has made its way into the pop culture lexicon. People still accuse you of having “a case of the Mondays” and talk about “Oh” faces, a special edition red Swingline stapler was sold, and “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster” is still an awesome party jam. We’ll never see  sequel and Judge’s best work is behind him, but it’s the most perfect office comedy ever made. If you haven’t seen this one, definitely check it out, and if it’s been awhile since you’re last viewing, watch it again and see how little has changed since 1999.