Whether or not you rush out to see Horrible Bosses 2 this Thanksgiving weekend should probably tell you how desperate you are to forget the holiday completely or to avoid the people with whom you’re celebrating it. The movie is, of course, a sequel to the funny and entertaining 2011 vengeance comedy in which three Joe Averages (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) got schooled by a “murder consultant” (Jamie Foxx) on the ways and means of handling bosses from hell.
This one, directed by Sean Anders from a screenplay he co-wrote with John Morris, takes other directions, few of them funny or entertaining. In fact, it’s a dumb, ugly and crass movie. The three once-likeable goofball characters — it’s not as if Sudeikis, Day and Bateman have chemistry so much as they’re enjoyable one-man shows — are now trying to strike out on their own as entrepreneurs hawking a bathroom accessory gadget that reduces time spent in the shower. When a skeezy billionaire investor (a grimly unfunny and miscast Christoph Waltz) screws them over, they kidnap and hold for ransom his spoiled, vain, monstrous son (Chris Pine).
If you don’t see where this thing’s headed, and fast, you haven’t been paying much attention to kidnap comedies made for the past five decades. There are mercifully short appearances by Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx, plus a game, sprightly return by Jennifer Aniston as the sexually randy dentist but now her character is reduced to smacking her lips and making incredibly inappropriate, witless comments during a 12-step meeting of sex addicts.
But, look, the movie is just a hodgepodge of badly filmed chases, ridiculous capers and riff-y scenes in which talented comics looking as though they’re having great fun talking over each other and drowning each other out — just not loudly enough. *