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Horrible Bosses 2: Extended Cut Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) movie poster Horrible Bosses 2

Theatrical Release: November 26, 2014 / Running Time: 108 Minutes (Theatrical), 116 Minutes (Extended)/ Rating: R (both cuts)

Director: Sean Anders / Writers: Sean Anders, John Morris (story & screenplay); Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley (story), Michael Markowitz (characters)

Cast: Jason Bateman (Nick Hendricks), Jason Sudeikis (Kurt Buckman), Charlie Day (Dale Arbus), Jennifer Aniston (Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S.), Kevin Spacey (Dave Harken), Jamie Foxx (Dean "MF" Jones), Chris Pine (Rex Hanson), Christoph Waltz (Bert Hanson), Jonathan Banks (Detective Hatcher), Lindsay Sloane (Stacy Arbus), Keegan-Michael Key (Mike), Kelly Stables (Rachel)

Buy Horrible Bosses 2 from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD / Instant Video: Theatrical Cut Extended Cut

Big studio comedies rarely take you by surprise. You usually know in advance what to expect from an established leading man or experienced writers and directors. Horrible Bosses was one of the few in recent years to genuinely disarm and delight. The 2011 comedy came from a trio of writers either largely or entirely untested in feature films and from Seth Gordon, a director who followed the great documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Dollars with a pretty average narrative debut (Four Christmases) that led,
laterally, to helming episodes of some of network television's better comedies. Horrible starred a trio of seasoned funnymen who generally held supporting roles, if anything, in movies. Top-billed actor Jason Bateman was someone whose leading roles came in movies ranging from the banal (The Change-Up, Couples Retreat) to the mediocre (The Switch, Extract).

All of this set expectations pretty low, even with a theatrical opening in the competitive month of July. By exceeding those expectations, the movie registered as a pleasant surprise, a worthwhile diversion, and 71st on our list of Top 100 of the Half-Decade. Three and a half years later, the gang returned for Horrible Bosses 2, a sequel opening on one of the most competitive weeks of the year to uncertain demand. The first movie was no behemothic blockbuster like The Hangover, probably its closest model in terms of content, dynamic, and quality. Still, its $210 million worldwide gross (more than half of it domestically) on a $35 M budget meant it turned a more than healthy profit.

The original film certainly did not demand a sequel, or leave much room for one. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime stories which its protagonists were lucky to escape with their lives and freedom intact. One assumes that the robust returns and the obvious enjoyment the dynamic cast took were enough for everyone to agree to make another. The same rationale seemed to spark Ocean's Twelve and The Hangover Part II, two follow-ups that fell well short of their expectations. The critical consensus indicated the second Horrible Bosses similarly disappoints. I don't agree. Yes, it's clearly true that this sequel is not as much fun as its predecessor. Few comedies are. Judged against contemporary cinema as a whole, HB2 certainly qualifies as an entertaining time and as something of a refreshing alternative to the season's serious awards bait and even more serious new Hunger Games.

Friends Dale (Charlie Day), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Nick (Jason Bateman) again find themselves in a criminal plot over their heads in "Horrible Bosses 2."

When we last saw Nick Hendricks (Bateman), Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale Arbus (Charlie Day), they were relieved to be alive and not going to prison. Their plan to kill their dreadful respective bosses was far beyond their criminal capabilities. The sequel opens with the best friends appearing on a local morning show to talk about a new entrepreneurial venture they hope will allow them to become their own bosses. The guys have invented the "Shower Buddy", a product that will supposedly revolutionize the showering experience. We never really understand its use and the opening sequence largely seems to exist only to enable a not so funny gag of unintentionally inappropriate positioning.

Nonetheless, the guys get a call from bath appliance giant Boulder Stream and an invitation to meet with young executive Rex Hanson (Chris Pine). We immediately recognize him as a slimeball, as he quickly, slickly walks through a proposal that will give the guys a one-time development fee and his company the right to mass-produce the device in China to extraordinary financial gain. Uncomfortable with the terms of the deal and wanting to manufacture the product in America, the guys refuse the offer. Then, Rex's father Bert (Christoph Waltz), a self-made billionaire immigrant who is sympathetic to the inventors' dream, places a big order and arranges for a bank loan to allow the start-up company to start up.

Turns out Bert is not so much a friend but a shrewd businessman exploiting their creation with a maneuver that will bankrupt Nick, Kurt, and Dale before their business can even get off the ground. Their best idea for getting out of this situation is to kidnap Rex for a six-figure ransom. Of course, they're just as unqualified at kidnapping as they were at murder. The advice of their not-so-hardened former murder consultant (Jamie Foxx) is, once again, not terribly helpful. But the guys are out of options and the callous nature of their swindling seems to justify the rash, ill-formed plan for revenge.

Wealthy young businessman Rex Hanson (Chris Pine) makes an impassioned case for the guys to go through with their kidnapping plot.

The good news is that Bosses 2 avoids the pitfalls of the two aforementioned comedy sequel busts. It does not settle for flat-out retread, as the second Hangover did by unimaginatively recreating the Vegas shenanigans in Bangkok.
It also doesn't get too cute, clever, and self-satisfied the way that Ocean's Twelve did. This sequel is well aware of what it is and respectful of the fans who made the first movie a success. Thus, it revisits what worked in the first movie, spending more time with three witty ordinary guys and watching them try to flail their way out of a tough spot in a way that none of them is cut out for. The central dynamic still entertains. These are three likable comedians on their own and bringing them together creates great energy and some winning rhythms.

Where this sequel falters is by not crafting a really sharp story to rival that of the first film. This comic trio thrived with the original's surprisingly smart and taut plotting. The sequel's ideas are less structurally sound. The screenplay by the duo of Sean Anders and John Morris (We're the Millers, Hot Tub Time Machine) repeatedly tries to subvert expectations with unforeseen complications. But such twists aren't always unforeseen and a number of them do not fare well under even minor scrutiny. The plot is really kind of a mess and it doesn't get any less so as it progresses.

There are a number of good laughs and plenty of callbacks to the first film. Too often, though, the movie is more content to be outrageous than funny. While Foxx's consistently amusing character is well utilized (even when stretching logic) and even Kevin Spacey serves a purpose in his pair of brief incarcerated cameos, Jennifer Aniston reprises her role, the weakest of the original horrible bosses, as a sex-crazed dentist to very little entertainment value. It's as if the filmmakers couldn't resist Aniston's star power and kept trying to make her fit into this story. But it's forced and the already thin shtick grows even thinner with an envelope-pushing sex addicts meeting and random resurfacing.

Some may judge this harshly just because the original film didn't need a sequel, let alone one that doesn't do a single thing better than its predecessor did. There are a good number of laughs, with Day again leading the way. But it's difficult to follow up a good movie, even when all cast members who should return do so. A couple of gags are really well-played but do not eclipse the ones in the predecessor or add up to the same delirious, unpredictable atmosphere on which the first film soared. Of all the sequels you might compare this to, the one that seems most appropriate to me is Anchorman 2, which similarly offered the joy of reunion without being able to recreate the rare comedy dynamite.

Jamie Foxx returns as Dean "MF" Jones, an ex-con who offers questionable advice and negotiation skills. Also back, with less reason, is Jennifer Aniston as Julia Harris, Dale's former horrible boss, an aggressive sex-addicted dentist.

Like its predecessor, Warner has treated Horrible Bosses 2 to an extended cut on Blu-ray. Still carrying an R rating, this elongated version runs 7 minutes and 23 seconds longer than its theatrical counterpart. Nothing really stands out as being radically changed in the extended cut. There is a Take Your Kids to Work Day at Nick, Kurt, and Dale's company. Some minor additions extend Kurt and Dale's hiding at Julia's office and Rex's awful treatment of his Asian maid. Already feeling a tad long in the 108-minute theatrical cut, the movie doesn't need to get any closer to two hours. It is not as plainly inferior as the original movie's Totally Inappropriate cut is to its theatrical alternative, but, like most extended cuts, it does not make the movie any better.

Plan your Kidnaping!

Horrible Bosses 2: Extended Cut Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: Both Cuts: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English); Theatrical-only: Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish, Portuguese)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish; BD-only: Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Suggested Retail Price: $35.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($28.98 SRP)
and on Instant Video: Theatrical Cut, Extended Cut

VIDEO and AUDIO

Horrible Bosses 2 looks sharp on Blu-ray, the format upholding the film's cinematic 2.40:1 visuals with nary a concern. Like the original movie, the sequel opts for a darker, more contrasty appearance than your typical bright studio comedy.

The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack also does its part to keep the movie from feeling like an R-rated sitcom. It springs to life with a number of rambunctious musical selections, from the series' recurring, adopted theme song (The Heavy's "How You Like Me Now?") to assorted rap and pop needle drops. Neither the music nor the occasional sound effect drowns out the dialogue that drives the film.

"Endless Laughter Guaranteed!" shows funnymen Charlie Day and Jason Bateman take their comedy seriously. Keegan-Michael Key (of "Key & Peele" fame) reprises his minor role of morning talk show host Mike in the infomercial "It's the Shower Buddy."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Past the two edits, the Blu-ray's all-HD extras begin with "Endless Laughter Guaranteed!" (17:28), a making-of featurette that shows us the cast's chemistry,
improvisational collaboration, and scene-killing laughter. It's surprising sincere and in-depth.

Four creative, unconventional shorts follow. "Let the Sexual Healing Begin" (2:24) is a little maudlin video for the sex addict group with minor actors in character talking about their affliction. It's a miss. "Who Invented the Shower Buddy?" (1:29) lets the lead actors dispute, somewhat in character, who deserves credit for the guys' invention. "Nick Kurt Dale INC.: Employee Testimonials" (2:13) lets more minor actors remain in character to vouch for their winning workplace atmosphere set by their bosses. Then, there's "It's the Shower Buddy" (1:10), a short infomercial that further makes use of supporting cast members, including Keegan-Michael Key.

"High Speed Crash Course" offers behind-the-scenes look at the guys' green screen car stunt. Like the poster, the DVD and Blu-ray's menu assembles seven lead cast members in a bright blue, pink, and white color scheme.

"High Speed Crash Course" (2:47) offers a behind-the-scenes look at the chase sequence with set footage and cast and crew comments.

Finally, we get "Off the Cuff: One-Liners You Didn't See", basically what Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen comedies call "Line-O-Rama." This collection of off-color alternate lines,
which features all of the lead cast, is sorely lacking a "Play All" button, making you have to watch the thirteen short, scene-specific montages one at a time and meaning you'll spend more time than the 18 minutes and 19 seconds they run returning and leaving the menu.

The DVD included here, the same one sold separately on its own, only holds the theatrical cut and "Endless Laughter Guaranteed!" If it was only going to get one extra (and there is certainly room for more), at least it got the primary one.

The Blu-ray opens with trailers for Get Hard and San Andreas. The DVD starts with those and proceeds to advertise Entourage, Focus, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and Inherent Vice. Sadly but characteristically, HB2's own trailers are left off.

The static menus place score over a brightly-colored poster design. The Blu-ray lets you resume playback.

The two plainly-labeled discs share an ordinary eco-friendly keepcase topped by a plain slipcover repeating the same artwork below. The lone insert supplies directions and a code for redeeming the Digital HD with UltraViolet included with your purchase, which is of the theatrical cut.

Dale (Charlie Day), Nick (Jason Bateman), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) are excited to become their own bosses in "Horrible Bosses 2."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

In no way does Horrible Bosses 2 match the high quality of its predecessor, one of the decade's funniest movies. But at least the sequel puts some thought into reassembling the appealing gang for another crime caper beyond their reach. Avoiding straight retread and trying hard to keep you guessing, the follow-up has its humorous moments and regard for viewers, both of which are enough to qualify it as a slightly above average comedy.

Warner's combo pack should satisfy with its dual edits of the film and nearly one hour of bonus features that often take the form of outtakes and alternate scenes. If you liked the first movie, this one warrants a rental. If you haven't seen the original, then go do that pronto.

Buy Horrible Bosses 2 from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / Instant Video: Theatrical Cut Extended Cut

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Horrible Bosses The Hangover The Hangover Part II The Hangover Part III Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
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Jason Sudeikis: We're the Millers Hall Pass | Jennifer Aniston: Just Go With It The Bounty Hunter
Chris Pine: This Means War Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit | Christoph Waltz: The Green Hornet
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Reviewed February 27, 2015.



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