"Horrible Bosses" lives up to its name

March 21, 2012

It’s rare to see a dental office depicted in a film and-if the movie “Horrible Bosses” is any indication- rarer still to see one that accurately depicts an office.

It’s rare to see a dental office depicted in a film and-if the movie “Horrible Bosses” is any indication- rarer still to see one that accurately depicts an office.

A dentist who sexually harasses her dental assistant, as well as two other bosses-one who revels in sadistic cruelty against his employees and another who is drug-addicted and dumb-are portrayed with over-the-top glee in this film that opened July 8.

The basic plotline involves three employees –who grow more inept by the minute- who fight back by deciding to murder the higher-ups.

The film provides a few laughs, a lot of raunchy, squirm-worthy jokes and unlikely situations, along with work places where the bosses run rough shod over their employees, but also are where the film’s most interesting scenes take place.

The film’s strength is the universal concept that nearly anyone who’s ever worked 9 to 5 can relate to: that of having a really bad boss. The bosses depicted here take horrible to a whole new level, however, that strains credulity. The unbelievable behavior is needed to justify why murder seems even in the neighborhood of being a reasonable solution.

One of the workplaces is a dental office where Dr. Julia Harris, played by Jennifer Aniston, mercilessly sexually harasses and taunts her dental assistant, Dale, played by Charlie Day. As if to indicate his weakness, he wears lavender-hued scrubs and all he wants to do is get married.

Three-dimensional characters are not this movie’s strong suit and that flaw is fully evident in the role of Aniston’s sexually charged, mean-spirited dentist.

Dale desperately fears Aniston’s antics will ruin his chance at matrimony.  Once the office door is closed and patients are conked out on gas, she tries every ruse to take advantage of Dale, even going so far as to blackmail him by faking some compromising photos.

The movie’s other bosses are Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), a boss/sadist who makes life miserable for Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) and coke-addicted Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell) who takes over his father’s company and demands that employee Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudekis) fire employees for being fat or disabled -all the while living a life of addiction and excess that threatens to bankrupt the business.

The employees often meet after work for drinks and come up with the plot to murder their bosses, and that’s where they begin to descend into a level of bumbling and ineptitude that makes it hard to believe they really will achieve their goal, unless it’s by mistake.

They first try to hire a hit man (Jamie Foxx) and when that doesn’t work they break into their bosses’ houses to gather intel. Slapstick ensues and, though there are a few laughable moments in “Horrible Bosses,” they are far from enough to save this movie.

The film is entirely in keeping with gross-out, buddy flick trend that’s been well established as a film genre in other movies such as  “The Hangover” and “Knocked Up.”  Only go to see “Horrible Bosses” if you can stomach vulgarity.  Otherwise, skip it. And don’t count on a realistic depiction of a dental office to keep your interest. In fact, it might be more fun to count the ways in which it is untrue.

I’ve never been in a dentist chair where the office door was closed during treatment and that’s not the only way in which this movie slams the door on believability. For the most part, “Horrible Bosses” is pretty, well, horrible.