Fun fact: I don't love the first Horrible Bosses. I don't think it's bad, but I didn't laugh very frequently. Another fun fact: I laughed less frequently in Horrible Bosses 2 than I did in the first one, which is never a good thing. But anyway, Horrible Bosses 2 picks up a little after the first film with Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) living happily in their boss-less lives. They've come up with a new invention called the Shower Buddy and billionaire Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) has agreed to distribute 100,000 shipments of it. Life is swell, or at least it is until Bert and his party-loving son, Rex (Chris Pine) scam Nick, Kurt and Dale, forcing them to loose all their money. So, using their "skills" gained from the first film, they try to get vengeance... again.
Like many sequels, especially in the realm of comedy, Horrible Bosses 2 is a complete rehash of the first film. While 22 Jump Street proved to us that having a self aware rehash of the first film can be anything but bad, Horrible Bosses 2 reminds us that if you're not self aware then it can be anything but good. (and by the way Hollywood, this doesn't mean I want every sequel to be as self aware as 22 Jump Street because that'll end up getting really old real quick) It's not unfair to presume that since there's no actual bosses in this film, surely the plot can't be the same. Actually no, they find a way. There are a few fleeting moments of differences, but by the time we get to the final confrontation you remember just how familiar the whole thing actually is.
The film's jokes are scattershot. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't laugh in this movie, although I wouldn't be lying when I say it about films like Scary Movie or Ride Along. There were more than a few moments of legitimately funny jokes. The only problem with these jokes is that they're not very frequent. In fact, they hardly appear. Horrible Bosses 2 had me laughing every 6 or 7 minutes or so and while that, on first glimpse at least, may sound like a reasonable number, it's not. There are multiple excruciating moments where the characters make jokes and the entire audience sat in silence, which proves that it wasn't just me who found this film unfunny.
While I did actually laugh, there weren't too many memorable jokes either. I can recall chuckling at many moments, 18 moments if my math is correct, but I can't seem to recall what I was actually chuckling at. With the first Horrible Bosses, although that film wasn't great, it had some truly memorable moments. A scene with Charlie Day's character high in a car singing to himself being an absolute stand out. That scene was hilarious and had me in hysterics, but it was, perhaps, the only scene in this franchise to actually do so.
The jokes that do work, and the few that I can vaguely remember, are then used a dozen or so more times. That, or they were either shown in the trailer or stolen from the first film. Actually, no. It's more than that. They were stolen from other films too. There's a scene where Chris Pine's maid shoves a toothbrush up her arse, just like the first film. There's a scene where one character is in the shower and it looks like someone is master-bating him, just like in Austin Powers. The list goes on and on.
Now, onto the cast. The three leads, just like in the first, work brilliantly with one another. They bounce off of each other constantly. It's the supporting cast that are more of a mixed bundle. Christoph Waltz is a pleasant new addition, but his character is overly-douchey and doesn't do an awful lot until the third act, but even then he's not that useful. Chris Pine got a chuckle or two, but again, he's overly-douchey and unlikeable. Perhaps that's the point of his character, but when you look at how he's used in the film, I really doubt that.
And finally, Jennifer Anniston. Oddly enough, I really liked her character in the first film. She created some particularly uncomfortable situations, all while maintaining a rather hilarious presence. Here, this isn't the case. She's rarely funny and rather pointless in the whole scheme of things. She gets herself into a bunch of sexualised situations are are not only unbelievable and stupid, but also incredibly racy, and not in a good way. In the first film, the situations were fun, despite being borderline rape. In the second, they're unnecessary, although this time they're literally rape.
To sum up, Horrible Bosses 2 may get a chuckle or two every so often, but none of these jokes are memorable, the supporting cast are either under-used or overly douchey and the plot is a complete rehash of the first film.
2 1/2 Stars