Friday, July 22, 2011

Horrible Bosses and the Forgotten Art of Murder

When I first read the premise and cast list for Horrible Bosses I thought it might be something I would want to see.  I liked most of the cast, except for the guy from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (that character bothers me -- low rent Bobcat Goldthwait) and the one from Saturday Night Live.  I'm also big on the idea of getting rid of the dead weight in your life.  Then I started to see the trailers.

What could've been a very dark comedy (I have no expectations of someone ever doing a serious drama about the justified killing of one's employer) instead looked like more inane slapstick.  The subject matter is serious.  Murder is murder, after all.  If one is to do a comedy about it, I would want to see the issue seriously explored in a darkly humorous way.  Workplace violence is not exactly rare, and the amount of people who harbor such thoughts is probably startling high.  To reduce such an important and life-altering subject down to a knee-slapper is fine for some people, but I want serious grit.  A film like that could still be funny ... in an uncomfortable way.

I decided to avoid the film, with the idea that I could possibly devote some time to it on DVD, but probably not.  A friend told me something, however, that he thought would not only totally change my mind, but blow it.

Jennifer Aniston plays a sexually harassing boss who says naughty things!

Seriously.  This was being used to sell the film to me ... and audiences, as this popped up in almost everything I read about the film.  She sexually harasses Bobcat Goldthwait-lite and says the kind of dirty things you fantasize her saying to you.  When I wasn't buying this selling point, my friend continued on, going into great detail on her exploits.

I finally had to remind him that Aniston wasn't her character on Friends and she was an actor who was playing a role.  That only seemed to strengthen his argument.  "I know!  She's never played a role like this.  It's awesome.  She isn't that good girl anymore."  I replied, "She also isn't a 'bad girl.'  She's an actor playing a role.  An actor playing a role isn't news, and it happens in every movie."  He didn't get it, though.  He just kept pushing it, so I changed tactics.  I decided that since logic wasn't working, I'd try being very serious.

"How funny would this be if the genders were reversed and it was a male boss doing this?  I don't think it would be that much of a comedy then."  Instead of pondering that, he must have thought I misunderstood him.  "No, she's the boss!  She's doing the harassing.  It's not the other way around.  That's why it's funny."

At this point I never wanted to see the movie if this was the type of audience it was attracting.  My friend, bless his shriveled, little heart, gets really jazzed about movies he loves ... and he loves a lot of what I would consider to be crap.  He gets so excited that he can't seem to think critically of them.

So he continued, extolling the non-existent virtues of an Aniston gone bad.  Telling me every little detail (which I blocked out) in such detail (and probably embellishment) that I seriously started to think he was masturbating in the theatre, or at the very least in the privacy of his own home, playing the scenes over and over in his head.

I needed to end his phone call, though.  I had a book to read.  And hearing about Aniston, who is not a great actor to begin with, and her dirty deeds done in character was giving me a headache.  I came up with the perfect way to end it, and ruin his fantasies the same way he destroyed my brain cells.

"So what did her employee do to her?" I asked.  "Did he give in and have anal sex with her while cutting her head off with a hacksaw and screaming, 'Is this how you like it, bitch!'?  Did he orgasm as she bled out on by the dental chair?"

Silence.  Then, "What the hell is wrong with you, man?  This isn't one of your sick French films.  We don't make movies like that in America."

No, but we should, and if it starred Aniston, I'd watch it.


  1. Horrible Bosses was one of the biggest comedies and suprise hits of the summer. Most executives thought it might do okay, but the movie grossed near 200 million in the box office. It also got fairly good reviews, and some people even saying it was one of the funniest comedies they have ever seen. So I went in with the intention of seeing an awesome, outragous movie.