'Horrible Bosses 2': What the Critics Are Saying

Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz and Kevin Spacey fill out the ribald sequel

Horrible Bosses 2, out Wednesday, follows up on the hapless worker drones in 2011's ribald comedy as they discover their entrepreneurial inspiration and seeking to become CEOs themselves — but at a price.

The New Line and Warner Bros. sequel — starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz and Kevin Spacey and directed by Sean Anders — is expected to gross $35 million to $40 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

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Read what top critics are saying about Horrible Bosses 2:

The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe notes, "Aside from the easily relatable wish fulfillment inherent in the franchise’s premise, the simplicity of the movies' setups represents a consistent virtue, providing plenty of room for convoluted complications to ensue. However, scripters Anders and John Morris ... can’t seem to surmount the problem of repetitive plotting that also characterized the first film. While individual scenes sometimes rise to a level of inspired absurdity, taken together they feel excessively episodic. Progress is also hindered by too much similarity between the characters: Nick’s bemused straight man overlaps excessively with Kurt’s unreliable yes man, and both are only slightly less clueless than Dale’s dim-bulb everyman."

Additionally, "The actors imbue their roles with enough likeability that it hardly seems to matter, at least until the jokes start growing stale well before the film’s midpoint. Instead, it’s the supporting cast that really shines, with Spacey practically spitting depravity from behind prison walls, Foxx laying on the wannabe gangster routine nice and thick and Aniston returning as Dale’s foul-mouthed, sex-addicted former employer. Although Waltz’s supercilious business mogul would have benefited from more screen time, Pine as his overly entitled son introduces such manic humor that he manages to steal more than a few scenes, although the comedy overall feels more forced than organic as the action enters the final act."

The New York Times' Stephen Holden says it's "one of the sloppiest and most unnecessary Hollywood sequels ever made," and it "isn’t dirtier or more offensive than its 2011 forerunner. But it is infinitely dumber and not half as funny. ... The story doesn’t even try to make sense. You often have the queasy feeling that the screenplay was improvised on the spot." Aniston "still brings a twinkling levity to a role that in less capable hands would be a hateful gorgon. But the novelty of a beautiful woman aggressively harassing a male underling has faded." Spacey and Foxx serve their cameos, while Waltz is miscast. "What Horrible Bosses 2 lacks in nasty repartee, it tries to make up for in poorly staged comedy chases and break-ins."

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Los Angeles Times' Betsy Sharkey calls it "sexually inappropriate," "politically incorrect" and "horribly funny" — though it "is not what qualifies as a good movie or even a particularly good R-rated comedy, there is more to laugh at in 2 than the first, so let's go with less horrible, shall we?" Bateman, Sudeikis and Day are "a much more cohesive comic team this time. Their annoying silly sallies are much snappier. ... Even in the worst moments, the threesome clicks. It's hard not to wish Nick, Kurt and Dale would find themselves another job. Like in a movie that surrounded them with better material."

The Boston Globe's Tom Russo observes, "The filmmakers seemed to have a little trouble differentiating between raunchy and off-putting, ... and the more palatable humor was mostly disposable," yet the "formula somehow ends up being more consistently entertaining." Additionally, Foxx's Jones "is back in a big way, adding sly, goofy spark to the requisite chase sequence and outtakes."

USA Today's Claudia Puig says "Bateman's comic timing and slow burn have slackened into blandly dull reactions, while his partners in crime seem to have grown markedly less intelligent. ... This sequel is misogynistic and occasionally racist. Edgy, inappropriate humor has its appeal, but Horrible Bosses 2 is merely offensive, without the barest minimum of wit."

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee