Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

“You three are the craziest criminals I’ve ever seen in my life — you gotta act like it!” And act like it they did in the movie “Horrible Bosses 2,” starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston. The relative familiarity of the first film, following average men forced into unusually extreme antics by their sociopathic bosses, has been replaced by cheesy and vulgar humor. Sean Anders, the director, actually reiterates most of the same set-ups and punchlines from the original movie, only more offensive and with more discussion of bodily fluids.

The story commences from the conclusion of the first movie, “Horrible Bosses.” Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day), now liberated from their tyrannical bosses, are trying to sustain a living. The trio have all quit their occupations and gone into business together to create a novel development known as “The Shower Buddy,” a timed shower system they believe can earn millions. After an appearance on local cable, they’re asked for a meeting with a huge distribution company executive Rex Hanson (Pine), son of shrewd business magnate Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz). They are offered a luxurious amount of money to sell their product to the Hansons, but they decide to keep the business because they think the invention is just that brilliant. After making 100,000 units for Hanson, the billionaire reveals that he’s cheated them out of the patent and they’re now $500,000 in debt. Without much choice, they decide the best course of action will be to kidnap Rex and hold him for ransom from his father — predictably, things only turn for the worse from here.

It’s still a pleasure to watch Bateman, Sudeikis and Day act together and their comedic scenes. They are in sync, especially since the script seems more improvised — for instance, the scene in which they hire a bunch of people without qualifications because of their looks or circumstances — so you keep hoping it is enough to make the movie more entertaining. Still, the script never fully fulfills itself and leaves the audience hanging. The funniest cast addition is Pine, who plays Hanson’s son, Rex, and has an obvious knack for halfwit comedy. Rex’s chronic mood swings, his exhausting enthusiasm and his tendency to beat himself up both metaphorically and literally provide the film’s biggest laughs. Jamie Foxx is the trio’s advisor on everything criminal, a man with terrible negotiating skills, and is still comedic in his gangster role, keeping up his persona in this sequel.

However, Waltz is surely wasted as the heartless Hanson — he’s too nice to pass for evil. And Spacey and Aniston are woefully underserved by the script, which was also co-written by Anders. Spacey, as Nick’s boss Dave, is given only a couple of pointless rants in a prison visiting room. Aniston, as the nymphomaniac dentist Julia Harris, is not given substantial dialogue to fully portray the caliber of her acting skills. In the first movie, with her slinky actions and dirty-girl jokes, she was an amusing character. Here she’s saddled with an arsenal of overcooked script that is too plain to be amusing.

This movie is just as nonsensical as the first one but also just as funny. It’s not the best comedy released this year but it’s a good way to pass time. The plot is not particularly interesting as it is repetitive and generally predictable. The talented cast is not given more developed characters, thus the movie fails to reach the audience and be relatable.

Rating: 3 stars