It is a natural reaction to want to seek revenge for a wrong doing. What isn’t so natural is putting it into action, especially when the revenge sought involves murder or kidnapping. Or attempting to do it a second time when the first shot misses and escaping blame was by pure luck. Horrible Bosses 2 would have you believe schlubs Nick (Jason Bateman, “Identity Thief”), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis, “We’re the Millers”) and Dale (Charlie Day, “Pacific Rim”) are game to try it again (or would it be considered a fourth try?) even though they failed miserably at eliminating their bosses in 2011’s “Horrible Bosses.”
Actually, it’s not just unnatural, it’s just plain stupid.
The slight this time comes in the form of a failed investment by a mail order catalog company run by Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”) and his son Rex (Chris Pine, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”) for their shampoo dispenser thingy, Shower Buddy. Standing to lose a substantial amount of money and lose their business, the brainiacs decide the best course of action is to kidnap Rex and ransom him because contract law enforcement even without a contract would be too sensical a route to take to recoup losses.
Albeit the plot is horribly contrived and the trio has noticeably gotten dumber by several orders of magnitude (except for maybe Dale who was already whiny and stupid), the guys still mesh relatively well together on screen when they’re not stomping on each other’s words or tripping over one another. Bateman has been the consummate straight man for much of his comedic career and in Horrible Bosses 2 he continues the trend. He’s the lesser of the dummies and spends much of the movie exasperated trying to keep the lid from their activities screwed on tightly even though his cohorts seemingly do everything in their power to screw things up. Sudeikis still thinks with his dick (he’s hired an office full of unqualified hotties to leer at, which makes him their horrible boss) and is more a pompous ass than ever before, and Day, well he’s still the frantic wimp who can’t be forgiven for having not slept with his overly-sexualized, sex-kitten of a boss played by Jennifer Aniston (“Wanderlust”).
Speaking of Aniston, her naughty dentist role takes the spotlight in Horrible Bosses 2 just as it did in the funnier original. Veteran comedy scribes, John Morris and Sean Anders, perhaps not convinced their new bad guys were memorable — or cute — enough (although Pine gives a great effort to be both) reached into the well to pull her and her fellow horrible bosses back out for an encore (minus Bobby who is dead, although I’m sure if they tried they could have figured out a way to reanimate him). She and Kevin Spacey (“Margin Call”), who is now in prison for Bobby’s death, are good for a few laughs as is Jamie Foxx (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) who reprises his role as the ex-con turned consultant Dean “Motherfucker” Jones. None, however hard they try, strike the resounding chord they were brought in to hit.
Neither do the big three who are now charged with carrying the film. On a personal level Jason, Jason and Charlie are having fun most assuredly (the outtakes clue us into that); professionally they know Horrible Bosses 2 is not the best work they’ve done. It’s also not their most horrible either — Bateman, if you recall, starred in “Teen Wolf Too.” What it is, however, is a horribly unnecessary sequel that is just plain stupid.