Here’s a piece of advice to studios and filmmakers who are considering following up a successful comedy with a sequel: Don’t. There’s a reason why comedies used to so seldomly get the sequel treatment: Because they suck. A good comedy is like lightning in a bottle; a sequel is like piss in a bucket. You’re lucky enough if a high concept works once; trying to duplicate a thin premise only leads to thin results.
Horrible Bosses 2 comes from the Spiderman 3 school of thought, which is to say: If you can’t come up with a clever premise, fuck it: Throw in some more famous actors. This time around, the main cast returns, along with the original’s scene stealers (Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey), and along for the ride are two new “horrible bosses”: Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and his son, Rex (Chris Pine).
To be fair, Chris Pine is actually the best thing going for Horrible Bosses 2. He plays an arrogant, blueblood douchebag who decides, after his father screws over Nick (Jason Bateman) Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) in a business deal, to help them recover $500,000 that his father essentially robbed them of by staging his own kidnapping. There’s more to it than that, but those complexities need not be addressed: Suffice to say, there’s a heist component to Horrible Bosses 2.
There is another crime, so Motherfucker Jones is naturally brought in to offer his “sage” advice, while Jennifer Aniston’s sex addict character is reprised for one reason only: To wear off the novelty of hearing Aniston utter outrageously inappropriate things and repeatedly threaten to rape Charlie Day’s character. It’s a joke with plenty of mileage, but sometime around the time Aniston dildo-bangs Bateman’s character from behind, it runs out of steam.
That’s the crux of the problem with Horrible Bosses 2: Where the original felt fun and novel, this one feels like the same jokes told louder and with more profanities. I have nothing against loud-spoken curse words, but it helps if they serve the story, define the characters, or make some fucking sense. I could listen to Jason Bateman sarcastically read the phone book all day, but that’s only because the phone book is less inert than the story behind Horrible Bosses 2.
Here, the premise falls in on itself, and besides an outstandingly energetic performance from Chris Pine and a few excellently delivered Charlie Day lines, Horrible Bosses 2 has nothing going for it other than Jason Sudeikis’ “Maine Justice” accent and a blooper reel that’s better than the entire movie.