Three years after its nauseating — yet popular — original installment, “Horrible Bosses 2” reunites the cast members in a juvenile, generic and outrageously funny sequel.
This fast-paced, deliriously impudent farce holds every character in cheerfully cynical disdain. The smart guys are egomaniacal greedheads. The dummies are ambitious nincompoops. The lickety-split sex scenes might as well involve pterodactyls. They are literally everything that’s wrong with 21st-century America. And it’s all done with deadpan irony and wicked imagination.
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day return as Nick, Kurt and Dale, buddies whose workday frustrations earlier pushed them into felony territory. Now they hope to launch a shampoo-squirting bath faucet that could become a bestseller. Blithering idiocy incarnate, they can’t even demonstrate a rinse on the morning news without looking like shower room molesters.
Nevertheless, their stunt attracts billionaire Burt Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and his son Rex (Chris Pine) as potential financiers. They set out to manufacture the sprayers, enabling Kurt to hire a workforce of unqualified hot girls. Alas, Burt has the warmth of Hannibal Lecter. His scheme to seize their business inspires the trio to kidnap Rex and charge his father a royal ransom, stumbling through every strategy in the playbook.
Usually, when a major part of a film series’ creative team departs, it’s worrisome news. Not this time. New director/screenwriter Sean Anders has a lunatic sense of humor. While the new film echoes plenty of scenes from the earlier one, it delivers them with an uncanny ability to keep viewers in stitches. Sicko humor is refined, tightly focused, timed to the instant. If the first film tickled you when it showed a rascal putting his foe’s toothbrush where it really shouldn’t go, this one will show you again and slay you.
This is, please note, no kids’ comedy. It has a near-pornographic level of obscenity. I’d like to repeat bits of dialogue, but if I clean them up, they’re not sentences. Day revives the half-wit charm he displays in his TV series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”; Bateman revisits his straight-guy appeal from “Arrested Development,” and Sudeikis expands on the blockhead confidence he perfected on “Saturday Night Live.”
The supporting roles are exquisitely entertaining, too. Jamie Foxx again has a gleeful turn as the guys’ lawbreaking assistant, M.F. Jones. Jennifer Aniston, who was well on her way to being a registered sex offender in the first film, goes even deeper, naughtier and sillier. Kevin Spacey, as Nick’s bad old boss, harangues the trio with joyful vitriol that’s remarkably terrific theater.
There’s even a standout walk-on by Jonathan Banks, who had us laughing through “Airplane!” more than three decades ago, as a retirement-age police detective trying to crack the kidnapping. It’s an idiots’ ensemble working at its own kind of genius.