Why I’ll Be Skipping “Horrible Bosses”
Date: July 6th, 2011
Blog Post by Denise Montgomery
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a sucker for good movies. And they’re very hard to find.
I understand, intellectually, that there is a large, hungry audience waiting to gobble up movies in which the protagonist undertakes a risky and foolish venture, thereby triggering a series of events that unleashes a devastating cascade of humiliations and injuries—a flood, if you will, of karmic failures and abuses. The genre has been labeled “cringe comedy,” and ever since the Farrelly brothers gave us “There’s Something About Mary,” millions have paid much to watch many bad things happen to helpless, hapless anti-heroes.
I understand that the target audience for cringe comedy finds said humiliations and injuries utterly hilarious, especially as it builds to the most embarrassing, painful conclusion imaginable.
As a female over 40, I am not a member of that target audience.
So I’ll be running right out and missing “Horrible Bosses,” an upcoming comedy based on the premise that, faced with abusive, unpleasant, unbearable bosses, perfectly reasonable people might be moved to remedy the situation through—homicide. Yes, the setup for this yuk-fest, starring Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx, among others, is an agreement among three schlubby buddies that they really, really need to kill each other’s bosses.
OK, I admit it. I’m the odd girl out here. I know this is going to make a bajillion dollars at the box office. I know all my friends are going to tell me I’ve got to see it, that it’s hysterical. (They told me the same about Borat, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Hangover, and another half-dozen films I actually got talked into watching. And hated.)
Really, I don’t hold it against anybody that they do enjoy this kind of thing. I mean, some people like coconut. (Ptooey). But that doesn’t mean I have to.
I can, however, come up with a short list of alternatives, all of which manage to stop shy of actual murder, just in case anybody out there in the real world is in a real job with a real-life “horrible boss.”
1. Human Resources
2. Lawyers (if the Jennifer Anniston scenes in the trailer are any indication, there’s actual illegal activity going on.)
6. Leadership Training
I don’t mean to sound like a killjoy or a tone-deaf scold, of course. I’m sure that by the end of “Horrible Bosses,” the three bumbling buddies will have realized that contract murder (even if the contract is among themselves) isn’t exactly a surefire path to career success, so I’m not worried that the film is going to inspire a rash of outrageous boss-killing. It’s kind of depressing, though, that so many people will identify with those beaten-down, abused, miserable, resentful characters whose work lives are beyond awful. And it’s nothing new. “The Office” (a milder form of cringe comedy) has earned great ratings in two countries for more than a decade for a reason…and it’s not because the majority of bosses out there naturally excel at leadership.
Ah, well. It’s art. Or entertainment. Or something. And I suppose if you send Horrible Bosses to leadership training in Hollywood, you don’t have a movie.
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