Starring: Jason Bateman, Rohan Chand, Kathryn Hahn
Written by: Andrew Dodge
Directed by: Jason Bateman
My Score: 5.2
Worth: Nothing really, just watch Horrible Bosses 1 & 2 or Arrested Development reruns to get your Jason Bateman fix.
Clairometer: Jenny Curran
The tagline to this film is "The end justifies the mean." I find that hilarious. Because that is exactly the opposite of what I thought, and what was profoundly wrong with this movie. Or put simply, the end absolutely did not justify the mean, not at all, under any circumstances.
With each review I try to provide you with enough information to decide if you'll enjoy the film without giving away the plot. It's difficult for me to describe why I didn't like this movie while holding true to the aforementioned raison d'etre. I will attempt it nonetheless. I found this film horrifically obtuse, to put it mildly.
To make a sweeping, but 78% accurate generalization: Jason Bateman pretty much plays one character. Sometimes that character is neurotic, sometimes he's a little pervy, sometimes he flirts with Liza Minnelli (please note that I have yet to see The Gift). But I love his character. There's nothing better than hearing his perfect delivery of straight guy responses to Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Tony Hale, etc. etc. With Bad Words I thought, "perfect, they're just subbing a cute Indian American kid for those guys." Unfortunately, that thought was more ill informed than the Trump voting base.
Jason Bateman's character makes the horrible bosses look suitable to work as characters at Disney World. In a world (rightfully) engrossed in ridding society of its bullies, this film promotes one. He is just so utterly mean to children just trying to excel at a spelling bee - so some of the country's cutest victims. Yeah ok, he does arrange the previously discussed cute Indian American kid an opportunity to see a set of massive breasts for the first time, which disturbed me beyond belief. I have a hard enough time watching Aziz Ansari have sex in Master of None due to his baby face, and he's a consenting adult!
The title of this post leads me to my final point. The entire movie is building to a secret that only Jason Bateman knows. It's the reason for his terrible behavior throughout the whole film. And for it to "justify the mean," everyone that he interacted with would've had to kick him in the nuts, including and especially the children. However, his Iron Man-like arc reactor electromagnet pulsing all this hatred through his body was a huge let down and did not justify the mean. His mean is completely misdirected, therefore, I must direct you to watch a different film to get your Bateman fix. Horrible Bosses 2 is actually quite good, I promise.