Is your boss a slave driving psycho? Is your boss a total sleazy tool? Is your boss a sex crazed maneater? Ever wish your boss were dead? Meet your new murder consultant.
Horrible Bosses is a 2011 Dark Comedy film directed by Seth Gordon. It stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx.Nick has sacrificed everything for his job, and claims that the difference between him and life's failures is that he's willing to take it. He spends six months sucking up to Harken to get promoted—and then he finds out that the position he's trying for will be taken by Harken himself, but at only 85% of the additional salary.His friend Dale skipped out on the white-collar rat race. Now he's an assistant to Julia. She wants to have sex with him, and doesn't care if he consents.Their mutual friend Kurt used to like his job, and his boss, Jack Pellitt. Jack just had a fatal heart attack, and his son Bobby is in the process of running the company into the ground.One night, Kurt suggests that they kill each other's bosses. He means it as a joke. At first.Not to be confused with That One Boss.
This film provides examples of:
Abhorrent Admirer: Julia, at least to Dale. She probably wouldn't be this to many other guys (assuming they're single).
Awesome McCoolname: "Motherfucker" Jones. He got his name when his mother was passed out drunk and naked, and he took his hand and reached deep inside her purse, stealing all her money. Yeah, he really fucked her over.
Ax-Crazy: Harken, who is a power-tripping Jerkass to begin with, easily makes the transition to psychotic murderer.
Badass: "Motherfucker" Jones, subverted. He just appears and sounds Badass. He never committed a murder, simply giving advice to the main characters off his own speculation. In reality, the only reason he went to jail was for video piracy. He's not even that great a negotiator.
Bowdlerise: At least some versions of the poster featuring the faces of the three bosses, Julia is described as a "Nympho" rather than the somewhat softer "Maneater" that can be seen at the top of the page.
Chekhov's Gunman: One example is played extra straight: Harken's paranoia about his wife's fidelity and implied threat to get his gun leads to his murder of Bobby in the middle of the movie. Three more near the end when "Motherfucker" Jones and Kenny both end up helping Dale blackmail Julia, while Kurt's onboard navigator Gregory helps prove that Harken was the one who killed Bobby.
Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: The film's position on this is a little murky. On the one hand, Dale is upset by what happens and calls Julia a rapist and she is clearly portrayed as a horrible person, but the sexual harassment scenes are also Played for Laughs. On the other hand, Dale's friends, and a good portion of the audience, clearly believe that Rape Is AWESOME When It's Jennifer Aniston. Note that Dale's the only one of the three in a relationship, and his fiancee is barely in the movie. She basically only exists to give credence to the idea that him being sexually harassed is an actual problem.
Hoist By Her Own Petard: Dale takes advantage of this at the end to trick her into nearly raping his (very much awake) friend.
Dumb Blonde: Harken's wife Rhonda doesn't seem the brightest bulb, being unable to tell what guests she invited to a party she is organising.
Earn Your Happy Ending: For the three main characters. One has his boss murdered in his house, another has his boss taken to prison for killing the first boss and the third one has his boss humiliated and blackmailed in retribution to all the sexual harassment said boss had made in the past.
Erotic Eating: Julia eats a popsicle, a banana, and a hot dog, in that order. Kurt is dumbfounded.
Even Evil Has Standards: Apparently, Julia does respect the sanctity of marriage. Although, this only means Dale has until the wedding to have sex with her, willfully or not.
Evil Feels Good: Not who you'd think; it's actually Harken who starts to like killing.
Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Nick tells Harken that it was due to his long hours that he was unable to say goodbye to his grandmother, whom he calls "Gam-Gam," while she was dying. Harken responds by laughing at the fact that Nick called his grandmother "Gam-Gam."
Extreme Doormat: Nick. Dale and Kurt stand up to their respective bosses from the get-go—albeit to no avail—but Nick doesn't assert himself with Harken until after Harken reveals that he's not going to promote him; Nick even says in voiceover at the beginning of the film "that the key to success, and no one will teach you this in business school, is taking shit."
Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: Dale got drunk at a bar that was next to a playground, and committed public urination. It was night, and there were no kids there, but he's still a registered sex offender, which is why he's stuck working for Julia. Truth in Television, as the legislation enhancing penalties for certain activities near playgrounds, schools and such is based on the location, rather than whether or not there are any children present.
Karma Houdini: Only Julia ends the movie with job and life intact. And still with a cost, as she did get blackmailed in a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Dale, and due to his false sex offender registration, who else would hire him besides her?
Lingerie Scene: Julia undresses in front of a window and then parades around the house in nothing but her undergarments (plus suspenders and stockings) as Kurt watches.
Make It Look Like an Accident: The trio plan to take advantage of the fact that Pellitt is a cocaine addict and that Harken is allergic to peanuts to poison them. They don't actually do either of these things, as Harken kills Pellitt and goes to jail for it.
A Man Is Always Eager: Averted with Dale and played straight with Kurt. Dale rejects Julia's advances because he's engaged and because it's unethical to sleep with one's employer, whereas Kurt is a horndog who hits on every pretty woman he meets.
A Million Is a Statistic: Bobby Pellitt's willing to let thousands of people in Bolivia die rather than pay extra to properly dispose of chemicals.
Ms. Fanservice: Despite acting like a total creep, Jennifer Anniston is still very nice to look at.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Why Harken kills Pellitt — the irony being that the victim isn't actually the hypotenuse.
Nice Guy: Dale is what happens when you take the standard sweet, innocent working girl who gets sexually harassed in movies like 9 to 5, flip her gender, and change absolutely nothing else. He's not exactly effeminate, and he's definitely not camp, but he's still a very unusual example of a positively portrayed straight male character with traditionally feminine virtues and flaws. (Then again, he also has the buried rage common in said working girls . . .)
Nice to the Waiter: If only the bosses had treated their employees with something resembling decency, they wouldn't have ended up dead ( Bobby Pellitt), blackmailed ( Julia) and most likely being gang raped in prison ( Harken)
Jack, Kurt's original boss, by contrast is shown as being extremely good to employees and a very honest businessman.
Parental Incest: Subverted with "Motherfucker" Jones. When he's explaining how he got his nickname by sneaking into his mom's bedroom one night. As it turns out, he simply stole her money, fucking her OVER.
Small Name, Big Ego: Pellett. Good god, Pellett. His apartment is aptly described as "Looking like the inside of the mind of an asshole".
Smart Ball: Dale actually manages to use his knowledge from watching Law & Order to get the detectives to admit that since he, Nick, and Kurt are only being questioned and not arrested, there's nothing they can do at the moment to keep them at the station.
Spiritual Successor: To Office Space. Both movies feature three men getting revenge on their bosses (embezzlement in Office Space, murder in this) and had Jennifer Aniston in the cast. Also half is kind of a spiritual sequel to the other Kevin Spacey evil boss movie Swimming with Sharks, though its not as dark and mean as Sharks it does also feature an employee wanting to get revenge on their boss though Guy actually almost goes through with killing his boss.
Spoiled Brat: Bobby Pellett - it's obvious for example that the only reason he has a job in the first place is because his dad was the manager.
Take This Job And Shove It: Nick tries this. Then he finds out that to get another job, he'd need Harken's recommendation, and Harken wants him right where he is. This culminates in Harken calling him his "bitch."
Too Dumb to Live: Nick and Dale confronting Harken, who they know to be a sociopathic murderer, completely unarmed.
Trailers Always Spoil: A few trailers reveal important plot twists, such as Dale saving the life of Nick's boss. One red band trailer shows that Kurt sleeps with Julia while stalking her to plot her murder.