Horrible Bosses was one of the best box office hits of 2011. A tight, well-written, well-performed, and hilarious comedy, the film hit that glorious sweet spot where all the necessary elements come together to create gold. Given that the movie recouped most of its budget in its opening weekend, it was not surprising to hear that a sequel was being planned – although fans were worried that another outing may burst that bubble of success by pushing the concept too far. How often can three guys clash so disastrously with unpleasant senior management? Those worries proved unfounded, as the plot for Horrible Bosses 2 takes that original concept and spins it on its head – as detailed in the official synopsis.
“The follow-up to the 2011 hit comedy Horrible Bosses reunites Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as everyone’s favourite working stiffs: Nick, Dale and Kurt.
Jennifer Aniston (We’re The Millers), and Oscar winners Jamie Foxx (Ray) and Kevin Spacey (American Beauty, The Usual Suspects) also reprise their Horrible Bosses starring roles, while Chris Pine (Star Trek: Into Darkness) and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds) star as new adversaries standing between the guys and their dreams of success.
Fed up with answering to higher-ups, Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day) and Kurt (Sudeikis) decide to become their own bosses by launching their own business in Horrible Bosses 2. But a slick investor soon pulls the rug out from under them. Outplayed and desperate, and with no legal recourse, the three would-be entrepreneurs hatch a misguided plan to kidnap the investor’s adult son and ransom him to regain control of their company.”
This latest trailer, which was released today, is very encouraging indeed. While one of the strengths of Horrible Bosses was the deft direction of Seth Gordon, Sean Anders appears to have taken the reins and kept the whole thing moving at a swift pace – working from a script that marries his own work – and that of his We’re The Millers collaborator John Morris – with the work of Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who worked on the script for Horrible Bosses.
The real draw here is the cast, however, and as with the first film, they appear to be having a ball. The supporting players all seize upon their well-drawn characters with relish, while our three leads provide another masterclass in ensemble performance. I have one nagging doubt, though, and it concerns the Rule Of Three. The Rule of Three is a writing principle that indicates concepts work better when presented in groups of three – and that this is particularly effective in comedy. By breaking ideas down into three ‘beats,’ drama or humour is introduced, increased then released – and this is felt to be deeply satisfying.
It certainly is true, for the most part, and the Horrible Bosses premise itself is based upon that theory – with the lead being taken by three distinct, individual characters who spend most of their screen-time in a ‘three-shot,’ exchanging witty banter. The premise means that in any given situation, the three leads can deliver jokes that adhere to the Rule Of Three – with one setting it up, one adding to it, and the last one knocking it out of the park with the punch-line.
My one concern, based on this trailer, is that the film might fall into the trap of relying on that writing device so heavily, that the rhythm becomes monotonous rather than enjoyable. I know how the structure works, but I don’t want to see the punch-line coming – that’s too distracting. Hopefully, that aspect of the trailer is simply a by-product of editing the preview, and not really a representation of the full-length movie structure. Regardless, I’ll certainly be queuing for tickets when Horrible Bosses 2 arrives in theatres on November 26th 2014.