Horrible Bosses 2
Director: Sean Anders
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day
108 mins; Class 15;
Eden Cinema Release

Sequels. Those unpredictable monsters, which can either better the original and occasionally raise the bar for a successful franchise or just prove – sadly too often – to be a complete waste of time by rehashing what has gone before.

Horrible Bosses 2 falls firmly into the latter camp; unable to capture the humour of its predecessor in which the protagonist trio Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), Kurt Arbus (Charlie Day) and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) come up with increasingly frenetic, inane and oftentimes funny ways to get rid of their horrible bosses.

However, while it attempts to cash in on the elements that made the first one enjoyable, it fails miserably at the start with a weak premise, a poor script and weak characterisation.

Bateman, Day and Sudeikis return as the hapless protagonists. Fed up of working for other people, they launch their own ‘shower buddy’ business. They think they win the jackpot when a prominent investor Burt Hanson (Christophe Waltz) offers them the chance to make millions by placing a large order.

Before long, however, Hanson cheats them out of their business; and with no money and no possibility of winning a legal battle against the powerful businessman, the trio hatch a plan to kidnap Hanson’s son Rex (Chris Pine). Of course it all goes horribly wrong.

Although admittedly the main trio still share the chemistry that made the premise work in part one, they’ve progressed little from what they were before.

Instead, they remain stuck in their stereotypical shells – Day’s twitchy Dale; Sudeikis’s sex-obsessed Kurt (as witnessed in a rather offensive scene in which he expresses horror that he can’t actually sexually harass his female employees) with Bateman’s Nick acting as their straight foil, his role reduced to nothing more than looking on askance at his pals’ ridiculous ideas.

Aniston deserves better

In a rare career misstep, Waltz looks really uncomfortable in his role, the lack of humour not helping and Chris Pine’s scenes as the rather disturbed Rex have the actor taking things way over the top.

Like the original Horrible Bosses, it is the eponymous characters that have some impact, even though their roles are somewhat reduced. Kevin Spacey returns as Nick’s original boss; still capable of making his ex-employee’s life a misery.

And, if you thought Jennifer Aniston’s over-sexed Dr Julia Harris was the best thing about the original, here the actress pushes the envelope further into triple-X territory, her behaviour even more smutty and outrageous than before. It is a testament to Aniston’s commitment that she so uninhibitedly inhabits the character; yet as I have oftentimes said before, she deserves much better.