HORRIBLE BOSSES. So why do I find myself at the latest dick flick? There are several possible answers. For one thing, my constant movie-going companion expressed some interest in the film when I said I was considering calling the Journal to beg off reviewing it. This was on Wednesday and when she discovered what the film was actually about on Friday, I was too embarrassed to call my editor at that late juncture.
Secondly, I thought maybe I should make up for skipping Hangover 2 after having excoriated the first one (I'm forbidden to mentioning the title) in my review and for months afterward. After all, it's always useful to have a whipping boy.
Finally, Horrible Bosses is the third consecutive summer film to feature a gracefully aging female star playing against type, in this instance Jennifer Aniston as an aggressively nymphomaniacal, sexually harassing dentist (following Cameron Diaz's turn as a bad teacher and an unsmiling Julia Roberts as a jaded one).
Well, the worst is yet to be revealed: I actually laughed with some regularity while watching TV director Seth Gordon's exercise in would-be workplace mayhem. I can try to tell myself that I was just admiring the admirable comic timing of the capable cast but, in truth, this foul-mouthed unapologetic exercise involving the typical dick flick elements of homophobia, sexism and racism, with near male-on-male golden shower sex thrown in, was unaccountably amusing.
The plot actually helped here, providing the inventive actors a lot of room for comic riffs. The primary story is straightforward. Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) all work for truly awful, demeaning bosses, although Nick and Kurt don't think that Dale being sexually harassed by Dr. Julia Harris (Aniston) is all that bad. So, they concoct a scheme to hire someone to off the bosses, only to end up with "murder coach" Dean Motherfucker Jones (a funny Jamie Foxx) instead.
The permutations of this premise are endless and the film hits many of them. In addition to Aniston, Colin Farrell and Kevin Spacey (with his usual smooth, off-handed nastiness) weigh in nicely as the other two targets of the amateur hit men. The script, co-written by John Francis Daley who plays Dr. Sweets on the TV series Bones, is tight and so is the direction.
Claudia actually made it through the whole film without falling asleep so life is good -- at least somewhere. I could use a little Tree of Life myself. Rated R (language). 98m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek, Minor and Fortuna.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2. The eighth and final film in the biggest franchise of all time (Expelliamus, Mr. Bond!). You don't actually need a synopsis here, do you? You remember: wizard kid in John Lennon glasses versus Ralph Fiennes sans nose. Magic! Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence and frightening images. 130m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek, Minor and Fortuna.
WINNIE THE POOH. They can call it simply "Winnie the Pooh" because it's been 35 years since the last big-screen Disney Pooh adventure. (Probably best to forget all those direct-to-video releases.) The preview looks at least visually promising, with a refreshingly hand-drawn, 2-D rendering of the Hundred Acre Wood and all your favorite characters. Rated G. Just 69m? Wow. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.
The Arcata Theatre Lounge this week gets invaded by Giants -- the San Fransisco baseball variety. No movies until next Thursday's Sci-Fi Pint and Pizza Night.
The Humboldt County Library's Robert Mitchum-themed based-on-the-book series continues Tuesday with the 1947 noir classic Out of the Past, hosted by the Journal's own Bob Doran. 6:30 p.m. at the Eureka main branch.
BAD TEACHER. Cameron Diaz plays the kind of teacher David Lee Roth would sing about. Rated R. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.
CARS 2. Twice the CGI carbon monoxide! Rated G. 112m. At the Broadway,Mill Creek, Fortuna and Garberville.
GREEN LANTERN. Even by superhero-movie standards, this one sucks. Rated PG-13. 114m. At the Broadway.
LARRY CROWN. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts phone it in. Rated PG-13. 99m. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. Woody Allen's latest sees Owen Wilson as a successful screenwriter who has unique experiences in the City of Lights. Rated PG-13. 94m. At the Broadway.
SUPER 8. Strange disappearances in a small Ohio town have citizens baffled. Rated PG-13. 112m. At the Broadway.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. Michael Bay is an evil machine. He directed this movie. Rated PG-13. 154m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek, Minor and Fortuna.
ZOOKEEPER. Kevin James and a bunch of talking animals search for the lowest common denominator and miss low. Rated PG. 101m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek and Fortuna.