Horrible Bosses: Totally Inappropriate Edition Blu-ray ReviewNovember 07, 2011
Horrible Bosses is a comedy that breaks no new ground and comes off as pretty stale. But that's okay, because it's a stale, old concept that will always work for one reason: There will forever be people who hate their bosses with a passion.
Nick (Jason Bateman) has spent almost a decade slaving away at his office job in search of a promotion that his boss, Mr. Harkin (Kevin Spacey) has been dangling in front of him for years. When the day comes to announce who's getting the promotion, Harkin gives it to himself.
Dale (Charlie Day) is a dental assistant whose boss, Julia (Jennifer Aniston), routinely solicits him for sexual favors and threatens to ruin his forthcoming wedding if he doesn't do the deed with her.
Kurt (Jason Sudekis) is the only one of the three main characters who likes his boss; that is, until his boss dies of a heart attack and is succeeded by his coke-head son, Bobby (Colin Farrell), who immediately cuts safety precautions and sends Kurt out to "fire the fatties" ("They make me sad to look at," Bobby explains).
Naturally, all three reach their breaking point and seek out a gun-for-hire with the most awesome name you'll ever hear anywhere, played by Jamie Foxx, to kill their oppressive employers.
As I said earlier, this is not a new concept, and, to be frank, the movie doesn't really attempt to do anything fresh with it. However, none of that stops the movie from being funny.
As with all comedies in recent years, the strength of this one lies in the banter between its main characters. Bateman, Day, and Sudekis all play against each other incredibly well; Bateman in particular gives a solid performance, selling that deadpan delivery in a way that only he can.
Sudekis also shines as the (for lack of a better description) Bill Murray/Vince Vaughn-type of the group – he's confident and either has no internal filter for the comments he makes or simply doesn't care. His delivery is extremely evocative of Murray inasmuch as you're never quite sure whether he's ad-libbing or if his timing and delivery is good enough to make it seem that way.
Day also puts in a fine performance as the more sheepish and panicky of the group; indeed, to his credit, Day is the only one of the cast who isn't doing what he would normally be doing in any other movie and as such comes across as being able to disappear into the role better than his peers.
Where the movie falls flat, though (surprisingly enough) is with the bosses. Spacey gets the most screen-time of the three bosses but is by far the least interesting.
Aniston and Farrell both deliver hilarious performances in the film but neither of them (Farrell in particular) gets enough screen time to leave a really indelible impression.
At the end of the day, though, Horrible Bosses does what it sets out to do: It reminds its audience that it's okay to hate your boss and offers catharsis with the knowledge that other people out there feel the same way.
Warner Bros. brings Horrible Bosses to Blu-ray with an impressive 1080P AVC-encoded transfer that has its share of both ups and downs in terms of visual quality. However, more often than not, the pendulum settles on the upside of things.
The film has a multitude of night exterior scenes as well as murky, smoke-filled bar scenes. It's a black comedy, and dark settings are a given. For the most part, this disc handles them well, with deep, well-defined blacks. The movie also boasts a realistic film-like grain that never distracts or becomes too noisy, save for one or two bar scenes. Artifacting and banding are non-issues as well.
Indeed, the only major blemish on the transfer is the noise level in several key expository scenes, particularly those taking place in the aforementioned bars. It's minor noise, but it is a recurring issue throughout the movie.
In terms of sound, the set's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, Warner Bros. misses an opportunity to stretch its wings with this flick.
It might be a comedy, and the major source of the laughs might be the dialogue, but there's no need for virtually everything to make its way through the front speakers. There were a number of missed opportunities to take advantage of the rear speaker channels, and yet car crashes, gunshots, and virtually every sound effect in the film comes through the front.
For the rest of the mix, the dialogue is clear and crisp which, again, is the where the laughs are going to be coming from in a movie like this; you can't fault Warner Bros. for keeping their eye on the ball.
Beyond the Feature
Horrible Bosses was a pretty big hit for Warner Bros., which is why I find it a little astounding that this disc is so light on extras.
The collection boasts only four featurettes that total 24 minutes' worth of material and 10 minutes of deleted scenes. Not exactly appropriate for what was arguably the biggest sleeper hit of the 2011 summer season.
The bonus features are as follows:
Horrible Bosses: Totally Inappropriate Edition is a three-disc set that boasts a 106-minute unrated cut on Disc 1 while Disc 2 contains the theatrical cut and the bonus features.
The third disc in the set contains a DVD of the theatrical cut as well as the UltraViolet digital copy.
Again, there's nothing new to be found here, but the movie itself is definitely worth a watch. The dialogue and interactions between the characters are sharp and funny (even if they do tend to get carried away by reveling in their own cleverness).
The lacking bonus materials, however, make this a so-so review for me, though. It wouldn't be a bad thing to have Horrible Bosses on your shelf, but it's not a must-have either.
- Jason Jarman
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