It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Horrible Bosses" is funny and dirty in about that order. Of George Carlin's famous "seven words you can never say on television," it omits only the usual one, I think, makes free with the others and adds several that didn't make Carlin's cut. It also contains what the MPAA describes as "crude and sexual content," which I guess means both kinds at once.
The default rating for comedies these days is PG-13. A plain PG warns teenagers a movie is too tame, and an R (allegedly) means they can't get in. Every season brings a couple of R-rated comic raunch-a-ramas, however, and on the heels of the "Hangover" franchise, here perhaps comes another one. In strict logic, it's hard to see how a sequel would be possible, but they'll find a way. You wait and see.
The story involves three horrible bosses and the three employees who vow to murder them. What makes the movie work is how truly horrible the bosses are, what pathetic victims the employees are and how bad the employees are at killing; they'd be fired in a second by Murder Inc. The movie causes particularly painful twinges at this moment in American history when employees are in a weak position and their bosses know it.
The bosses display an impressive array of vile behavior. In this well-cast movie, each one plays to the strengths of the actors portraying him. Consider Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), a supercilious sadist who toys with his middle manager Nick (Jason Bateman). Few are better than Spacey at regarding others with contempt and humiliating them with pleasure. Many other actors, given his dialogue in this film, would seem unconvincing and over the top. Spacey demonstrates why he is getting praise right now in London for his work as Shakespeare's Richard III. You remember him. The king who murdered Henry VI and his son Edward, and later during the funeral boasted of his plans to marry Edward's widow, Lady Anne.
The second boss we meet is Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), an erotomaniac dentist. Her target is Dale (Charlie Day), her dental assistant, who is engaged to be married, but so what? She wants him, and she will have him, indulging in blatant and aggressive sexual harassment. You know those little water picks dentists have? You don't want to know what she does with one after aiming it at Dale's netherlands.