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Horrible Bosses: Totally Inappropriate Edition Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Review

Horrible Bosses (2011) movie poster Horrible Bosses

Theatrical Release: July 8, 2011 / Running Time: 98 Minutes (Theatrical), 106 Minutes (Extended) / Rating: R (Theatrical), Unrated (Extended) / Songs List

Director: Seth Gordon / Writers: Michael Markowitz (story & screenplay); John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein (screenplay)

Cast: Jason Bateman (Nick Hendricks), Charlie Day (Dale Arbus), Jason Sudeikis (Kurt Buckman), Jennifer Aniston (Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S.), Colin Farrell (Bobby Pellit), Kevin Spacey (Dave Harken), Donald Sutherland (Jack Pellit), Jamie Foxx (Dean 'MF' Jones), Julie Bowen (Rhonda Harken), P.J. Byrne (Kenny Sommerfeld), Wendell Pierce (Detective Hagan), Lindsay Sloane (Stacy), Ron White (Detective Samson), Ioan Gruffudd (Wetwork Man), Brian George (voice of Atmanand), Celia Finkelstein (Margie Emerman), Scott Rosendall (Hank Preston), Chad L. Coleman (Dive Bar Bartender), John Francis Daley (Carter), Bob Newhart (Lou Sherman)
Horrible Bosses is one of DVDizzy.com's Top 100 Movies of the Half-Decade (2010-2014).Horrible Bosses ranks 71st in our list of the Top 100 Movies of the Half-Decade (2010-2014).

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It wasn't all that long ago that Jason Bateman was known for starring in Teen Wolf Too and being the younger brother of "Family Ties" actress Justine Bateman. Then came "Arrested Development", acclaimed but not widely watched and cancelled before any shark could be jumped.
Perhaps not since the original "The Honeymooners" has a relatively short-lived television show earned cult classic status so definitively. Bateman could have easily become a former child star still making a go of it in cable TV movies, like Rick Schroeder, whose 1980s sitcom "Silver Spoons" was one of Bateman's earliest gigs. Instead, the legend of "Arrested" and a couple of well-picked film projects with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn helped thrust Bateman to the A-list of comedy cinema.

Since "Arrested" was axed in 2006, Bateman has been ubiquitous in films. Some of his vehicles have stalled at the box office (Extract, The Switch, and, most recently, The Change-Up), but others casting him as support or part of an ensemble have flourished (Juno, Hancock, Couples Retreat). In short, Bateman is familiar and reliably funny. If you're making a comedy movie, don't have the budget to pay Stiller, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, or Steve Carell, and are looking for a marketable everyman lead, Bateman is just about your best bet these days.

Such a comeback is more than a little remarkable in the industry. The only downside to such a resurgence may be that Bateman runs the risk of overexposure, a risk any actor would love to face. With a pair of R-rated Universal comedies that each grossed just $37 million this year and the recent announcement that "Arrested Development" will be revived for a short fourth season and movie, it might sound like Bateman's success could be drying up. But such a theory is dashed by the hit film Horrible Bosses.

Per the reconnaissance stage of their plan to kill their horrible bosses, friends Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) conduct a stakeout.

Horrible Bosses adds another R-rated comedy to Bateman's resume, but it's one that won't be mistaken for others in title, design, or reception. The feature screenwriting debut of TV veterans Michael Markowitz and Jonathan Goldstein and young actor John Francis Daley ("Freaks and Geeks", "Bones"), Horrible tells the story of three friends with three different bosses who make their lives miserable in unique ways.

Financial stiff Nick (Bateman) works hard to please his demanding, demeaning boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), driven by the promise of imminent promotion. Chemical plant accountant Kurt (Jason Sudeikis, "Saturday Night Live") can't stand to see the company of his fatherly longtime boss (a briefly-seen Donald Sutherland) run into the ground by the chief's real son, sadistic cocaine-addled Bobby Pellit (a combed-over Colin Farrell). Finally, engaged dental assistant Dale (Charlie Day) has to endure the constant sexual harassment and unprofessional behavior of his freaky employer, dentist Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston).

Swapping their horror stories after work and recognizing that neither unemployment nor a fresh start would be ideal, the three pals realize their jobs and lives would be so much easier with their bosses out of the picture. They decide to kill their bosses. It is a joke at first, but one that seems to make more sense the more thought they give it.

The guys decide to hire a hitman. Their first try, over the Internet, yields less than desirable results. Their second, at a black bar in a bad neighborhood, leads them to the more promising ex-con Dean Jones (Jamie Foxx), whose preferred first name is one of the few vulgarities that can't be uttered even once in a PG-13 film. The guys negotiate with Jones to do their dirty work for them, although the arrangement comes to place the bulk of the criminality back on them.

None of the three friends are even remotely familiar with confrontation, so the reconnaissance they do as legwork to premeditated murders that will look accidental is, to put it kindly, amateurish. That is the comedic core of the film, though laughs come from all directions. Some of the heartiest involve somewhat obscure movie references, which resonate emphatically for those they're not lost on.

Dental assistant Dale (Charlie Day) has to put up with the sexual advances of his unprofessional boss (Jennifer Aniston) on the job. Fresh off serving a dime in jail, Dean "Motherf**kah" Jones (Jamie Foxx) serves as murder consultant to the friends.

Horrible Bosses is a highly entertaining comedy in the tradition of Office Space and The Hangover. Like both of those movies, this one soars on the cluelessness of three friends who are far out of their league and element. Also like those two, this earns our sympathy quickly, warming us to protagonists and their distinct group dynamic and preparing us to excuse their every wrongdoing. Work dissatisfaction may be the most universal of backdrops and the film takes efficient strides to make clear that its protagonists aren't lazy or vicious, just the products of some truly horrible bosses who do everything they can to create a hostile work environment.

Though the premise sounds very dark, the execution is anything but. I'm not a big fan of black comedy, so I was relieved to find the decency and motives of the leads tastefully established. Of course, Nick, Kurt, and Dale don't want to kill and it is not in any of their natures to do so. For an R-rated comedy, these guys are surprisingly appealing and good-natured. The biggest skeleton in any of their closets is a sex offender record, which Dale is eager to explain is the egregious result of a late night drunken playground urination.

Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day are each funny on their own and funniest of all when they are together, talking over one another and sharing their bad ideas. This is an especially welcome opportunity for Day, who has been so uproarious for the past seven years on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." He's essentially playing a more normal version of the same character, but what a character it is. For Bateman, it is a winning part in a winning film, a combination that, aside from his two Jason Reitman movies, has eluded the actor during his busy boom.

Demanding, demeaning Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) does not take two minutes' tardiness lightly. Kurt, Dale, and Nick stock up on the supplies with which they intend to kill their bosses.

The more decorated and generally better known supporting cast members blend comfortably into this world more suited to the leads.
Perhaps this project will provide a career rebound for Spacey, who has remained in need of a sturdy follow-up to American Beauty for over a decade now. Farrell and Foxx earn points for proving that they are good sports and plenty willing to have fun with their images, as the Miami Vice stars occasionally have in the past. Aniston, meanwhile, shows that she can do something other than romantic comedy, her bread and butter since "Friends" ended.

Horrible Bosses received strong reviews and good word of mouth. Both factored into its most respectable take of $118 million domestically and $210 M worldwide. Those numbers were good enough to make the film one of summer's highest grossers, fourth among the season's non-franchise pics and #1 all time in what Box Office Mojo categorizes as dark/black comedies. It's nice for the successes of the makers to be rewarded; that potent performance will certainly boost the careers of all involved.

Those signs of approval establish this as one of the more attractive home video releases of the now-bustling holiday retail season and New Line Cinema distributor Warner Home Video has shown the film a little more love than most. This 3-disc Totally Inappropriate Edition combo pack presents the film in an unrated 106-minute extended cut on Blu-ray and the 98-minute theatrical cut on DVD, UltraViolet digital copy, and a second Blu-ray.

The extended cut runs exactly eight minutes longer. The differences are minor additions throughout the film with the biggest gains amounting to a minute or so. There is a little more racy dialogue from the gang's desperate old friend (P.J. Byrne) and we see a homophobic side to Farrell's character. There are definitely some amusing bits with the friends that are exclusive to the unrated cut (like the guys' stakeout and police station bickering), but it's nice that both are offered for posterity's sake. The combo pack is currently the only way to see the extended cut; DVD, the single-disc Blu-ray, and digital copy/on demand/download versions exclusively offer the theatrical cut.

Watch a scene from Horrible Bosses:

Horrible Bosses Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English) / DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
Theatrical Blu-ray: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish; BD-Only: Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Three single-sided discs (1 BD-25, 1 BD-50 & 1 DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $35.99
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available in standalone DVD ($28.98 SRP), movie-only Blu-ray ($29.98 SRP),
and on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

For the most part, Horrible Bosses looks great on Blu-ray. The 2.40:1 transfer is sharp and nicely detailed. In a few spots, it gets grainy or looks more like video than film (as it is, having been shot digitally), but such moments are brief and soon forgotten. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio is high quality as well, with crisp dialogue providing immediacy and a few stretches roaring to life with music.

The digital copy files are left off the DVD in favor of a download, but the disc still leaves a lot of disc space to spare. The DVD's dark, fuzzy feature presentation looks overly compressed and its Dolby Digital 5.1 sound packs a noticeably lesser punch.

Jennifer Aniston's hair is its usual lighter color in her bonus feature interviews. "Surviving a Horrible Boss" takes us behind the scenes of a stunt sequence.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

All of the bonus features accompany the set's second disc, the theatrical cut Blu-ray, where they are presented in high definition.

Fun and fitting, "My Least Favorite Career" (5:00) has the cast and crew share their worst work experiences. "Surviving a Horrible Boss" (6:29) is not the how-to it may sound like, but a short, making-of featurette. Rather than just passing praise around, this piece actually supplies some insight into the filmmaking. "Being Mean is So Much Fun" (7:07) has Spacey, Aniston, and Farrell discuss their antagonists and the joys of playing horrible.

Combed-over cokehead Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell) questions a pharmacist about the contents of his sneeze in this deleted scene. The static menu establishes the film's horrible bosses and stressed-out protagonists quite succinctly.

The first half of a deleted scenes reel (10:22) presents two interesting alternate openings (the first with a different logo and credits order). Beyond that, we get more of the briefly seen Donald Sutherland, Colin Farrell, and Fed Ex girl (Meghan Markle).

Finally,
"The Making of the Horrible Bosses Soundtrack" (6:22) devotes unexpected thought to the movie's score, a subject covered well if inessentially.

Though it was definitely not a case of not yet being active (with street date being weeks ago), the disc's BD-Live section would not load for me, "timing out" after at least five minutes of animating a red line around a disc graphic. This expectedly extended my history of Warner BD-Live inaccessibility.

The digital copy provided here is of the UltraViolet variety, which means no DVD-ROM drive or disc is required. You will need an Internet connection and accounts on both Flixster and UltraViolet to gain access to the cloud-based service that will in theory stream the theatrical cut on all your digital devices.

The DVD here contains no bonus features, but all that is lost from the version sold separately are the deleted scenes.

Each disc uses a basic menu, which gathers cover or poster poses of the bosses and employees against a bright blue backdrop while a long score except plays through a few times. The Blu-rays do not support bookmarks, but they do resume playback of the movie.

The theatrical Blu-ray loads with promos for "Shameless": The Complete First Season and Blu-ray 3D, followed by a trailer for A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.

Who would ever guess that things do not go exactly to plan for Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis)?

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Horrible Bosses is among the funniest movies (and maybe is the funniest) of 2011 so far. So long as you can handle foul language and some dark (in theory, at least) comedy, this will have you laughing almost all the way through. The Blu-ray combo pack does not go above and beyond in the way of extras, but the feature presentation is terrific, the extended cut is one of the rare ones to actually improve the movie, and, even if you might not have use for the DVD and digital copy, the deleted scenes and featurettes add value. You should certainly check out this film and if you'd like to own it, this set is no doubt your best bet.

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Horrible Bosses Songs List: Spoon - "The Underdog", Booker T. Jones - "Crazy", Hockey - "Learn to Lose", Beastie Boys - "Sabotage", Brett Dennen - "Sydney (I'll Come Running)", The Dirty Heads - "Lay Me Down", B.A.S.K.O. - "Beatin' Down the Block", The Heavy - "How You Like Me Now?", Cymande - "The Message", With the Quickness - "Koo Koo Rocks", Carl Douglas - "Kung Fu Fighting", The Tings Tings - "That's Not My Name", The Constellations - "Perfect Day", Fitz and the Tantrums - "Moneygrabber", Classic - "I Be Doin' It", DeBarge - "Rhythm of the Night", Money Mark - "This is How I Roll"

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Reviewed October 31, 2011.



Text copyright 2011 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2011 Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, and Warner Home Video. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.