Horrible Bosses 2 reunites the trio from the first movie for more hilarious criminal mishaps and out of their element antics. This time around, Kurt (Jason Sudekis), Nick (Jason Bateman) and Dale (Charlie Day) are starting their own business with a product they hope will get them up and running. When a wealthy investor (Christoph Waltz) places a large order and then reneges on the deal, the guys hatch a plan to kidnap his son (Chris Pine) and use the ransom to save their business.
One of the things that worked so well for the original movie was the chemistry of the three leads. Each actor brings a different flavor to the screen. Charlie Day is the goofball, Bateman is the straight man and Sudekis is the sarcastic asshole. The dynamic was the first movie’s golden goose and it carries over to the sequel without missing a beat.
The characters are the same as they were in the original, though Nick gets a bit of added development in this movie. It comes after an interaction with a certain character and is played solely for laughs. It’s successful in being funny, and overall isn’t overplayed. But it says a lot about the strength of the first movie that it threw me off slightly seeing a different side to Nick’s usual dry persona.
Waltz and Pine are welcome additions to the cast. Pine in particular plays off the three leads’ dynamic in a way that makes his character feel at home in this universe. There are moments, one in particular, where he seems to simply be channeling Colin Farrell from the first movie, but it’s a minor complaint. Christoph Waltz easily switches between being charming to ruthless but, overall, he felt slightly underused.
The original movie built its humor around the three leads’ buffoonery in attempting to commit a crime. The comedic timing of Day, Bateman and Sudekis was what kept the movie from turning into a much darker comedy. By merely existing, the sequel runs the risk of failing to reach the original movie’s comedic voice. However, Horrible Bosses 2 manages to create a scenario for the characters that makes it believable (and even necessary) for them to turn back to crime.
My concerns going into any comedy sequel are always focused on what the filmmakers do to differentiate the movie from its predecessor. It’s really easy for a sequel to retread familiar territory (The Hangover Part II) or go overboard with meta humor (22 Jump Street). Fortunately, Horrible Bosses 2 avoids these pitfalls and manages to deliver a strong sequel that stands on its own and, at times, surpasses the original.
Bargain Buy – These are titles worth adding to your physical collection at a discounted price.