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July 8, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Movie Poster for Horrible Bosses

If television sitcoms were raunchier, they would be like Seth Gordon’s Horrible Bosses, some critics suggest. “For all of this movie’s aspirations to be out-there,” writes Kyle Smith in the New York Post, “it relies on the staple of the sitcom mentality. Sitcom scripts are hacked together in a few days, and rely on dumb-guy jokes because they are the easiest to churn out.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times calls it all “situation slapstick.” Carrie Rickey in the Philadelphia Inquirer gives the film a mixed review. How mixed? Well, consider: “Short, sour and scabrous, Bosses is that paradoxical thing: a situation comedy where neither situation nor comedy is particularly effective where nonetheless Jason Bateman is sidesplitting, as is Colin Farrell in a supporting role.” A.O. Scott in the New York Times also wrestles with the plot of the movie. On the one hand, he says, “The movie, in addition to being expectedly vulgar, is noisy and preposterous, and its humor flirts with racism, goes steady with misogyny and pretty much marries homophobia.” However, he continues later, the movie “is also frequently very funny. … The laughter is mean but also oddly pure: it expels shame and leaves you feeling dizzy, a little embarrassed and also exhilarated.” Then there’s Mick LaSalle’s review in the San Francisco Chronicle, who can’t seem to make up his mind about the goings on in this movie, either. “Horrible Bosses has a handful of hilarious moments,” he writes, “but it’s not exactly funny and not exactly serious, either.” Indeed, Ty Burr in the Boston Globe makes the case that the only real reason to see the movie is to catch Farrell’s character, which he describes this way: “A greasy black comb-over barely hides Bobby’s bulging skull; the character seems top-heavy with bile and resentment. The beady eyes of a paranoid dart beneath a protuberant brow, and even Bobby’s goatee seems obscene. This is the kind of makeover Tom Cruise gave himself in Tropic Thunder, but Farrell goes further in turning his character into a surreal comic runt. If they gave out Oscars for creative debasement, he’d be a lock.” The film does garner a few raves. Scott Bowles, in USA Today, for example, writes that the movie “rivals Bridesmaids as the funniest film of the summer, if not the year.” Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel agrees. “The fourth big R-rated comedy of the summer may very well be the funnies,” he comments. “Horrible Bosses is the first film t give those Bridesmaids a run for their money.”