Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses Rating:  MA 15+ Distributor: Roadshow Release Date: August 25, 2011Horrible Bosses has one of those instantly recognizable scenes – not because we’ve done it, but because we’ve fantasized about it in one form or another. Diligent office worker Nick Hendricks has been taken advantage of yet again by his smug, self-serving boss, Dave Harken. In a […]

By Mark HadleyWednesday 24 Aug 2011MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

Horrible Bosses
Rating:  MA 15+
Distributor: Roadshow
Release Date: August 25, 2011

Horrible Bosses has one of those instantly recognizable scenes – not because we’ve done it, but because we’ve fantasized about it in one form or another. Diligent office worker Nick Hendricks has been taken advantage of yet again by his smug, self-serving boss, Dave Harken. In a fit of rage he grabs him by his silk tie, drags him to the window and hurls him into space. As he watches him crash into the pavement below, his co-workers give him appreciative hi-5s. Yes, this is Nick’s daydream but it springs from our very real frustrations.

Horrible Bosses is built around the horrible feeling many people experience from nine to five. Nick’s friends Kurt and Dale mirror his struggles in the work place. Kurt is an accountant whose firm is being run into the ground by the cocaine-addicted son of the former manager. Dale suffers through long days of sexual harassment from his female dentist employer. After three particularly horrific days they come to the conclusion that their lives – and everyone else’s – would be much better if their bosses were pushing up daisies. So they set about planning three foolproof murders. But since they’re being carried out by three fools, their chances of success are limited.

The rating should be warning enough that this is not a film for the kids. Dale’s sexual harassment by his beautiful boss brings in a lot of lewd conversation that is exactly as uncomfortable as it’s supposed to be. It’s just a sign of the times, though, that his friends don’t take his plight so seriously. Who wouldn’t want their boss coming on to them? Apparently no-one but Dale. Still, the dead-end job situation is so common, and the rest of the comedy so rich, that I can see Horrible Bosses pushing its way into popular conversation.

Kurt sets the moral floor of the film when he suggests that doing something about their work lives is essential, however drastic. “Anyone who hates their job only has themselves to blame,” he tells his drinking buddies, and the audience nods along. We unconsciously agree that if we’re suffering at work we should change our circumstances or leave, and surely half of our frustration arises from our failure to do so. We should tell our bosses what we really think; they should get what’s coming to them. And that should make for a better workplace, right? But what if our ability to change things is actually an illusion?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t stand up to bullies in the work place, be they bosses or fellow workers. But I think the problem is much larger than people allow for. Too many of my friends think that if they could just change ‘A’ or ‘B’ in their jobs, things would be bliss. They forget that work itself is the problem. The Bible records God telling a rebellious Adam:

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life … By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

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God’s not just talking about gardening, by the way. Work itself has been cursed. We shouldn’t expect any employment to be a joy now that we have removed ourselves from God’s service. That’s not to say people shouldn’t strive to enjoy what they do; King Solomon believed it was the best option open to us. But looking to work to provide meaning and peace of mind is hoping our meal ticket will do more than it can possibly achieve. Horrible Bosses makes our employers the problem. Trust me, even if you work for yourself you’ll only end up with more bosses. We just call them clients. The real solution is to work for the right Boss, and let Him take care of the satisfaction we crave.