12 December 2011

Horrible Bosses (2011): Comedy Genre



I’ve always found myself driven towards dark comedies, there’s just something about movies that make light of serious issues. So upon looking at the synopsis for Horrible Bosses (2011), I figured it would be the perfect choice for this blog.

Horrible Bosses features all of the elements of a modern comedy. It features the usual gross-out humor, overt sexual jokes, and usual shoddy storyline. But that’s okay; comedies traditionally rely on “gags, rather than plot continuity” (Corrigan and White 343). Horrible Bosses lives out the fantasy that every pencil pusher with a dead end job dreams of, killing your idiot boss. As with most comedies Horrible Bosses begins with a significant problem, three friends have terrible bosses and want them dead.

Horrible Bosses can be considered a dark comedy because of the subject matter it is dealing with. Dark comedies are set apart because they usually deal with things like murder, rape, and drug use in a humorous way. One example of this in this movie is when three friends, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) are doing 'recon' in Nick's bosses house. Dale is assigned as the lookout man, he discards his empty peanut-butter sandwich bag out the window at the same time Nick's bosses is jogging by, he proceeds to pick up the bag and promptly drops to the ground because he is allergic to the peanuts. Dale then retrieves his epipen and starts stabbing him profusely which ends up saving his life (not knowing he was the guy he was supposed to kill). Among this are all too frequent jokes about drug use and sex.

This movie also exhibits some characteristics of slapstick comedies. For instance, in the process of scouting out Kurt's boss' house they uncover his phone, they then go to Nick's boss' house and accidentally drop the phone. The next day Nick's boss finds the phone and suspects it to belong ot a man his wife is seeing. He tracks down the owner of the phone and kills him, saving the gang from having to kill Kurt's boss. This highly unrealistic situation is characteristic of slapstick comedies.

Overall Horrible Bosses did give me a few laughs, but it lacked substance. It was one of those mindless movies that you watch to kill time. I did enjoy the concept however, because who hasn't at times wanted to "kill" their boss.

Photo Credit: wikipedia

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