Not nearly as funny as the original "Horrible Bosses" --- where is Colin Farrell when you need him? --- "HB2" offers up Chris Pine this time as the spoiled brat son, Rex Hanson, of multi-billionaire Bert Hanson, played by Christoph Waltz.
The plot involves Dale (Charlie Day), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Nick (Jason Bateman) and a kidnapping scheme gone awry. There are a few downright hilarious moments, but unfortunately, not enough --- and not nearly as many, or as hysterical, as the first installment.
Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey have all returned, though Aniston's shtick as the horny dentist has run its course. Spacey and Foxx's roles are small, but highly entertaining. Stacey plays the crackpot so well.
"HB2" isn't awful, it's simply not that amusing. Writing a comedy is, as I have written in the past, one of the most difficult tasks for screenwriters. Sean Anders, who also directs, and John Morris could have done much better.
Opinion: Wait for DVD
The graveyard for movie comedy sequels just got a bit more crowded.
"Horrible Bosses 2" joins the unwanted ranks of bad follow-ups like "The Hangover II" and "The Hangover III".
To be fair, "Bosses 2" contains several amusing moments which separate it from the drek of those other sequels. But filmmakers and screenwriters tend to go to the same well all too frequently. What worked once doesn't necessarily guarantee success a second or third time. Jamie Foxx's character "MF" Jones was hysterical in "Horrible Bosses", but not so much in "Bosses 2". The antics of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, aided by Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston, were a refreshing change of pace for cinematic comedy in the first film, but their act is stale in the sequel.
So why does essentially the same cast fail so badly the second time around? As my illustrious partner would say, "it's the writing, stupid". And she would be correct. The first "Bosses" had three credited writers, the sequel has five. Too many points of view? Sean Anders, who co-wrote the screenplay based on his own story, also directs, a change from Seth Gordon in the original.
The first film was something most people could relate to --- who among us hasn't had a boss we didn't like? Although most workers don't plot to kill them. In "Bosses 2", the guys are jobless, of course, so they invent a gadget called the "Shower Buddy". It's a hot item, so hot that a suspicious investor named Bert Hanson (Christolph Waltz) contracts with the boys for 100,000 pieces. But when things don't go as planned , they concoct a revenge scheme to kidnap the younger Hanson, Rex (Chris Pine), in exchange for a large ransom.
The biggest problem with "Bosses 2" is the script which relies heavily on sexual innuendo and grossness. The overall silliness of "Bosses" generated big laughs for a lot of moviegoers, but the shenanigans in "Bosses 2" are just vulgar, and it's simply not funny.
Spacey is currently a prison inmate who still despises his former employees, and Aniston is back as the oversexed dentist. Pine is amusing, for a while, playing the handsome, smooth-talking son who hates his father. Waltz displays the right touch of sadism.
But while nobody would suggest the characters played by Bateman, Sudeikis and Day are brain surgeons, who is stupid enough to invest half a million dollars without a signed contract? I guess that wouldn't make for a very good comedy.
Opinion: Don't Bother!