Remember Horrible Bosses? The 2011 film saw Nick, Dale, and Kurt band together to get revenge on their bosses by devising a plan to get rid of them permanently. Of course, this is a dark comedy, so the plan was always going to be stupid for the sake of comedic value. The end result was David Harken murdering evil boss #2, Bobby Pellett. He was charged with his murder and three attempted murders then sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. As for the sexually inducing Julia Harris? She was blackmailed into paying for Dale’s honeymoon with an incriminating video and to stop sexually harassing him, or he’ll release the video. All is good in the world as Nick, Dale, and Kurt can now work peacefully. Nevertheless, Horrible Bosses was the surprise hit of the summer and raked in over $200 million worldwide, which is especially impressive for a dark comedy.
Despite a clear ending, business is business so naturally, a sequel was greenlit and released three years later. This time, the guys go into business for themselves and created an invention called the Shower Buddy, which naturally attracts investors. However, the guys get screwed over by the investors and are in massive debt. What do they do? The smart thing of course, which is kidnap Rex for ransom money to pay off their loans. The sequel wasn’t met with the same praise as the first film, and it made considerably less than Horrible Bosses. In retrospect, was there ever a need for a sequel to 2011 dark comedy?
The issue of the sequel stems from the fact that it never felt warranted in the first place. Nick, Dale, and Kurt may have not successfully killed their bosses, but they successfully got them off their backs. So, in essence, the three protagonists accomplished their goals and should be living happily ever after. Horrible Bosses 2 is an example of pure greed, nothing else. No film is made unless producers believe that it could make money; however, the film figures for Horrible Bosses likely shocked everyone given the genre and rating. There were no lingering questions once the credits rolled. The bosses got their comeuppance and there’s nothing else to really explore with the premise itself. Is it possible to make a spin-off with these characters? Definitely! Mainly the villains, or David Harken, who killed Bobby Pellet. Jamie Foxx‘s Dean “MF” Jones is another fun side character that we could’ve dove into the side adventures of his criminal lifestyle.
There was no other story that needed to be told with Nick, Dale, and Kurt. They’re goofy characters, but outside of getting screwed over by their bosses, not particularly interesting one. The allure of these three straight men going into the criminal world had lost its luster. At this point, Dale, Nick, and Kurt felt like psychopaths. Granted, it was a dark comedy so the film was allowed to get away with this type of premise, but the charm these three had in the first film was long gone in the second feature. Plus, it was clear that the premise was paper thin. The film is called Horrible Bosses, so the only avenue that the movie can explore is Nick, Dale, and Kurt getting screwing over by well…horrible bosses. It made for a highly predictable and forgettable film. The jokes weren’t as fresh as the first entry and the journey was always going to end with Nick, Dale, and Kurt getting what they want in the end. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few funny jokes or gags in the sequel, but overall, this was a one-and-done type film, like The Hangover. The temptation of money is hard, but executives should’ve considered the first film a success and moved onto another project.
No one considers the original Horrible Bosses to be a classic. It’s genuinely a funny film, but most fans didn’t flock to the sequel because it just didn’t make the lasting impression that The Hangover did. As I previously mentioned, if executives wanted to capitalize off the success of Horrible Bosses then their best bet would’ve been to recognize that they had nowhere else to go with the premise and give a spotlight to one of the interesting side characters. There’s no guarantee that a spin-off would’ve been a success, but the likelihood of the quality being better would’ve been higher. Nevertheless, executives obviously learned their lesson as Horrible Bosses is done as a franchise, but had Warner Brothers been wise then they could’ve used that money to invest into another film with potential.
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