In a year when 22 Jump Street managed to successfully subvert almost every pratfall that typically affects comedy sequels, along comes Horrible Bosses 2 to remind us what they all are again. I even found the first Horrible Bosses reasonably entertaining 3 years ago, but there’s absolutely no need to make a sequel to it, and that really shows. This will likely go down as one of those sequels that ultimately diminishes affection towards the original, Hangover-style.
Naturally, while the first Horrible Bosses gained laughs from the surprising nature of its characters, notably its more-famous supporting cast, Horrible Bosses 2 just lazily plays on familiarity. Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) are of course again going to find themselves in a desperate situation that leads to them ineptly turning to a criminal plot to solve. Jamie Foxx is back to possibly assist the hapless trio as their crime “consultant” named “Motherfucker” Jones. Jennifer Aniston re-appears as the sex-crazed Dr. Julia Harris, and we’re again just supposed to find it funny that she says such outrageous things (in a typically failed attempt to one-up the original, this has her inviting Batemen to shit on her). They even get Kevin Spacey’s (now-incarcerated) character to throw in a cameo, which is totally unnecessary to the plot, but admittedly among the funniest moments.
To be fair, there was a slight attempt to not just make this a re-hash of the first movie. The set-up finds the trio starting their own business making a device called the ‘Shower-buddy’. Despite a disastrous (and desperately unfunny) promotional spot on a daytime TV show, they find an investor in Rex Hanson (Chris Pine), the son of wealthy business tycoon Burt Hanson (Christoph Waltz). It’s not the success they dream of though, as the Hansons are actually out to screw their business over and leave them bankrupt. They then hatch a sure-to-be genius criminal plan to kidnap Rex for ransom money.
Pine is the only one who brings anything new to the table with his enthusiastic performance as a rich young man with daddy issues. Waltz on the other hand is completely wasted and left with very little to do. The main guys are just doing the same thing again, though both Kurt and Dale appear to have become considerably stupider since their first appearances, and not to this film’s advantage. They’re a likeable enough team, but the film just finds them landing in the same kinds of situations again. Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t a completely terrible film, there a few laughs to be had along the way, but it’s just a totally pointless one.