Sam Strange Remembers: HORRIBLE BOSSES

Hollywood legend Sam Strange remembers the time he realized comedy movies don’t have to be funny.

I have never had a boss, but I have a lot of employees, and from what they tell me, it’s pretty horrible. I always thought I was a good guy at the office, but apparently my people resented having to get food for me, pat my back for me, and write and direct movies for me, even though that’s what I hired them to do.

One time, I caught wind of a plot they were hatching to murder me. Luckily, I was able to get them and their families first. The whole thing would have made me mad if it didn’t seem like a really good plot for a movie. So I replaced my staff and got to work.

Horrible Bosses is about three guys who all have horrible bosses. Because these bosses stand in the way of their acceptable level of happiness, they have to die. You might have heard this was a dark comedy. Having heard that, you might have thought the guys would actually kill their bosses. Having thought that, you might have seen the movie and been disappointed in how wimpy it was. Having been that, you might want to go fuck yourself. I’m a boss, and I don’t answer to anyone’s expectations.

Nick, the main guy is, like many Americans, a corporate douchebag working solely for a giant promotion. He’s been slaving away at the same company for eight years. You might be tempted to call Nick a spoiled asshole. But you have to understand that he never collected one paycheck in those eight years. He has a nice car, a nice apartment, nice clothes, nightly dinners at Applebee’s (including beers), and many other upper middle class amenities, but he pays for all that with bank loans against this big promotion. Everyone else in his office gets paid real money, so they’re not so desperate for the promotion. Otherwise, I could understand this guy alienating some viewers.

The problem is Nick’s boss, Kevin Spacey. Some time ago, Kevin Spacey famously played a horrible boss, so I thought I’d use him for a little cinematic shorthand. Now, instead of actually showing what a horrible boss he is, everyone just knows he’s horrible because he’s played by Kevin Spacey and he yells a lot. Truthfully, he’s probably not that bad of a boss. He’s an abusive asshole, but that’s just the job. I’m sure once Nick gets his position he’ll be an abusive asshole too.

In fact, I sort of played around with this idea that Kevin Spacey’s temper has a human element to it because his wife is sleeping around with everyone. It turned out I lacked movie-time to go into this properly, so I dropped it. All I’m saying is it only takes a little imagination to see the American Beauty/Falling Down-esque tragedy skirting the edge of this film regarding Kevin Spacey’s character.

The next guy is Kurt. There’s not a whole lot to say about Kurt. He’s sort of an “everybody’s best friend” kind of guy, but without the crying alone in the bathroom those guys experience in real life. He’s an inexplicable ladies man. Apparently, even if you’re a Miller Lite, blue-collar type guy, all you have to do is ask a lady if she’s a model and she’ll sleep with you. (WARNING: this pick up tactic won’t work on girls who are actually models!) Honestly, I thought Kurt would be the breakout character of the film because he’s a one-man remake of Used Cars.

Kurt has the greatest job ever. He’s an accountant or something at a chemical warehouse or something. He also has the best boss ever. Sadly, the boss is played by Donald Sutherland, which means he will not survive the film’s first act. Sure enough, Donald Sutherland dies as soon as he’s introduced and his slimy coke-head son, Bobby, becomes Kurt’s new boss.

Bobby is a horrible boss because he basically wants to liquidate the whole business for quick profit and party his ass off as the ship goes down. I guess that’s bad for Kurt, but in reality, what Bobby does with his own business is Bobby’s business only. The movie posits that people who do coke, karate, and loose women deserve to die, but I have a personal investment in disagreeing with that sentiment. Besides, there’s no guarantee that Kurt wouldn’t try to fuck your wife if he were your boss. All he has to do is ask if she’s a model, and he’s in.

And then there’s Dale. I’ll just get right to it: Dale’s boss desperately wants to fuck him, and he just can’t stand it.

Okay, there are two things you need to understand before you start hating Dale preemptively. One, the first thing we learn about Dale is that his lifelong dream is to be a husband. While this sounds extremely suspect, it makes sense once you know that Dale is a eunuch thanks to two separate childhood bottle rocket incidents. Sex is off the table for Dale, so all he can look forward to is marital bliss, and his boss is threatening that.

Second, his boss isn’t like some kind of super-sexy honeypot who could get it from any guy. That would be extremely stupid. Instead, she’s played by Tyler Perry.

Dale is also a little strange because he’s played by Bobcat Goldthwait’s son, so he’s this bearded little imp who screams everything he says, yet he works as a dental assistant. The message here is: odd people can be dental assistants, too. All it takes to be a dental assistant is the desire to be both a dentist and a human being.

None of the guys can quit their jobs because of a general fear of poverty, but Dale has an even better reason: he’s listed as a sex offender. It’s all a misunderstanding, though. Some kids heard he was a eunuch and wanted to see his non-junk, and for purely educational reasons, he showed them. Simple as that.

So those are the guys, and those are their bosses. Now it’s time to kill them.

Boss #1:

First, they break into Bobby’s house, do all his coke, then steal his phone. Next, they break into Kevin Spacey’s house, drown his cat, and plant Bobby’s phone conveniently under a chair where it can be easily found. Kevin Spacey finds the phone and, suspecting Bobby as one of his wife’s many lovers, shoot him in the head.

Boss #2:

After witnessing and video taping Bobby’s murder at the hands of Kevin Spacey, they turn him in to the police. He pulls some white-collar immunity bullshit, and the police shoot him in the head out of anger.

Boss #3:

Kurt, the ladies man, rubs a condom in fast acting AIDS and uses it to have sex with her.

So now all the bosses are dead and everyone moves up in their lives to a place where they can all finally be as happy as they demand. The end.

It’s a slight movie, I’ll admit. But I like it. One thing I learned from Horrible Bosses is that comedies don’t actually need to be funny anymore. They just need to have funny people. And in a weird way, this actually brings audiences together. For instance, the two cops in this film are played by Ron White and Bunk from The Wire. So all the Democrats get to say, “Hey! That guy was in the greatest show of all time!” While Republicans out there get to say, “Hey! That’s the #3 comedian in the world!” And then at the end of the film, when Bob Newheart shows up, all the old people get to say, “Shit! That’s fuckin Bob Hope!” The only people who don’t get jazzed by awesome cameos are babies because babies are stupid and don’t know who awesome actors are yet. Therefore, no one under three years old should be allowed to watch Horrible Bosses.

(three stars)