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Non-Review Review: Horrible Bosses 2

Horrible Bosses 2 is a cluttered film. In many ways, it is handicapped by a reluctance to let go of what worked the first time around. As a result, the film seems to bring back just about every cast member it can, ensuring that everybody gets their own little arc and their own pay-offs. Two of the three original horrible bosses get extended subplots in the sequel, with an expanded role for another side character.

This leaves the film feeling a little crowded. The new additions to the cast seldom get room to breath. Horrible Bosses 2 brings in a rake of superb talent to fill out the supporting cast, but doesn’t have the time to do anything particularly interesting with them. Chris Pine makes the most significant impression, but Horrible Bosses 2 wastes  talent like Christoph Waltz and Jonathan Banks in fairly bland roles.

"I spot a sequel..."

“I spot a sequel…”

And yet, despite its problems managing space, Horrible Bosses 2 holds itself together. It’s a clumsy film, one that feels like it could have done with a script polish and some judicious editing at an early story phase, but it manages to hang a lot on the chemistry of its three leads. Even more than in the original film, Bateman, Sudeikis and Day find themselves playing archetypes rather than characters – but the fit rather comfortably into those archetypes.

Bateman, Sudeikis and Day spend a lot of Horrible Bosses 2 talking over one another – something that more than one character acknowledges over the course of the film. The result is a lot like the film itself; it’s often difficult to separate the important material from the background noise, but there’s also an underlying sense of fun that just about keeps everything ticking over.

"We've all seen Reservoir Dogs, right?"

“We’ve all seen Reservoir Dogs, right?”

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Non-Review Review: Identity Thief

It must be very difficult to balance the demands of a road-trip comedy. You need two solid leads with a definite sense fo chemistry, but with enough conflict between them to keep things interesting. You need a compelling objective for at least one of the characters to strive towards. You need a tightly-constructed scenario which rules out any easy use of mass-transit. You need a cast of quirky supporting characters to give the movie a distinct flavour, and to occasionally do a bit of heavy-lifting if you decide to develop your leads.

Identity Thief seems to realise this, but it fumbles a bit in the execution. Too many plot points and characters feel too convenient, inserted to either pad out the movie’s runtime or to construct a reasonably believable set of statistics to force the plot into motion. Identity Thief almost seems to try too hard to justify itself and to meet those requirements of a road movie. It’s best when it focuses on the two lead characters, even if it does overplay its hand slightly. It’s not a bad little comedy, but it’s not an especially strong one either. There are a few light chuckles, bu the film mostly runs on the charm of its two leading characters.

Not quite a breakout hit...

Not quite a breakout hit…

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Ten Best Movie Moments of 2011…

I’ve compile my list of my own favourite films of 2011, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to outline my own favourite movie moments of 2011 – those breathtaking sequences when I was glad to be setting in a darkened room surrounded by strangers. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the raw combination of images and sounds can have such a dramatic effect on you, moving you and bringing you to from the height of joy to the depths of sorrow. I’m very happy with 2011 as a year for cinema, and these are just ten reasons why.

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Non-Review Review: Dinner for Schmucks

The real problem with Dinner for Schmucks is that it’s not really that funny. I can talk for quite a while (and probably will) about how the movie takes all the flaws with unsympathetic comedic protagonists demonstrated by films like Due Date and turns them up to eleven, but that will ignore the fact that the laughs in the film are relatively few and far between, which is a shame when one considers the sheer volume of talent involved. Paul Rudd, in particular, is a talented and charismatic actor who really needs to make better choices in films.

No funny business...

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Non-Review Review: Horrible Bosses

“You can’t win a marathon without putting some bandaids on your nipples!” Dave Harkin, the “psycho” boss of Nick Hendricks, insists throughout the movie. It’s curious, because Horrible Bosses feels like a movie pacing itself for a marathon – and that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s consistently funny, with the humour spread evenly over most of the runtime. It’s hard to point to particularly brilliant sequences that had the audience in stitches, but instead the room was constantly giggling throughout. It’s a solidly entertaining comedy, which makes the most of a clever premise and superb cast, even if it does falter just a little bit as it reaches the finish line.

Spacey is boss...

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