Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Jonathan Banks
Written by: Sean Anders, John Morris, based on a story by Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Sean Anders, John Morris
Directed by: Sean Anders
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Running Time: 108
Date: 11/26/2014

Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Just 'Horrible'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The original Horrible Bosses was funny, fresh, and smart, and now Horrible Bosses 2 is unfunny, stale, and dumb. In the first movie, the characters were stuck in intolerable situations, and it was easy to side with them. This time their own crushing stupidity gets them into their mess, and sympathy is in short supply. Worse, the trio is together in every scene, and their shtick is the same throughout: Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) chatter incessantly about vaguely unrelated topics, and Nick (Jason Bateman) rolls his eyes and makes flat, deadpan comments.

Having been freed from their horrible bosses in the previous movie, Nick, Kurt, and Dale have decided to go into business selling their new invention, a "shower buddy." A ruthless businessman (Christoph Waltz) cheats them by getting them to manufacture 100,000 units and then canceling the order. With their livelihood at stake, they plan to kidnap the businessman's horrible son, Rex (Chris Pine). But they receive a shock when Rex wants to be kidnapped for a cut of the ransom. Things get complicated when Dale's old dentist boss (Jennifer Aniston) and "MF" Jones (Jamie Foxx) enter the picture, and the boys face a nasty double-cross.

The director of the first film was Seth Gordon, of the terrific documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. The new director, Sean Anders, made the not-so-great Adam Sandler movie, That's My Boy. Whatever the difference in their world views, there's a distinct drop in comic timing and pitch; the sequel feels too long, drags over too many dead spots, and repeats the same gags. Not to mention that so many of the jokes, in addition to being tiresome, are simply tasteless and annoying.

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