2011’s Horrible Bosses worked because of the chemistry between the three leads: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day. Bateman played the straight man, the rational guy who only reluctantly went along with his goofy friends’ screwball plans. Sudeikis was the playboy of the group who attempted to be logical and rationalize their actions until his penis took over thinking for him. Day was the totally clueless but lovable guy who was incapable of thinking things through. That successful dynamic fuels the sequel, Horrible Bosses 2, and is the reason to check out the R-rated comedy. It’s definitely not about the plot or even the supporting characters in #2; it’s all about the three amigos who can’t map their way out of a paper bag. And because Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis work so well off of each other, Horrible Bosses 2 is saved from being a throw-away sequel.
This time around the guys have left their jobs behind to devote themselves to the “Shower Buddy,” an invention that dispenses shampoo and conditioner directly from an attachment to the showerhead. It’s their opportunity to be their own bosses and after a disastrous appearance on a morning show, they’re surprised to learn a major company wants to place a huge order. Of course it’s too good to be true, and the threesome’s double-crossed by the corporate bigwig (played by Christoph Waltz) who leaves them financially ruined with a warehouse full of their product and no one to sell it to.
Because this is how their minds work, they plot revenge by kidnapping the boss’ spoiled rotten son, Rex (played by Chris Pine). And because they are actually worse at kidnapping than they are at planning to kill their bosses, nothing goes as expected and the kidnappee turns the tables and becomes the boss of the kidnapping operation.
Along the way familiar faces pop in and out of the story, including Kevin Spacey reprising his role as Dave Harken. Dave’s currently incarcerated but that doesn’t stop the guys from turning to him for advice on how to save their business. Jamie Foxx returns as Dean ‘MF’ Jones, and the guys seek out his help in figuring out how to actually kidnap someone. And Jennifer Aniston is back as the sex addict dentist who still lusts after the one who got away (Charlie Day). If anything, this sequel finds Aniston delivering even raunchier lines and really pushing the whole sexually free dentist bit for all its worth.
Yes, the sequel feels a bit recycled and, yes, not every joke lands. But surprisingly, there’s plenty of material in Horrible Bosses 2 that does work. Chris Pine’s hilarious as the obnoxious entitled son and Waltz, as usual, fully embraces the role and takes it to a whole other level. If you enjoyed Spacey, Foxx, and Aniston in the first film, then you’ll appreciate their appearances in this sequel. If you didn’t, then not to worry as they’re only in a handful of scenes.
Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day are so comfortable in these characters that it’s easy, as an audience member, to get pulled into their goofy antics and to be willing to go along for the ride. Should there be a Horrible Bosses 3? No, probably not. But Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t the disposable sequel you might expect it to be and instead actually elicits bigger laughs than the original film.
Horrible Bosses 2 is rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout.