Earlier this week, Horrible Bosses was released on Blu-Ray and DVD and while it has received mixed reviews (69% critic rating and 75% audience rating on RottenTomatoes.com), it is definitely a flick I would recommend. It probably helped that the day I saw the film in the theatre, my fiancé was summoned into work for much of a Saturday she was supposed to have off, to do the beck and call of her own horrible boss.
Throughout the movie, no matter where you’ve worked or who you’ve worked for, there are moments when you nod your head and think, “Yeah, that’s happened to me.” Sure some of the scenarios are exaggerated, but everyone has had that one boss – hopefully not more than one boss – you just can’t stand. There are also a number of laugh-out-loud moments that make the movie quite agreeable.
The film’s ensemble cast was enjoyable and you could tell that they had fun with their roles. The three bosses: over-sexed Jennifer Aniston, douche bag Colin Farrell and hard ass Kevin Spacey do a great job of antagonizing our trio of heroes: underappreciated Jason Bateman, suffering Jason Sudeikis and sexually-harassed Charlie Day, to the point where you too want to be part of their fiendish plot. Add in Jamie Foxx’s hitman-for-hire with an unfortunate name and everybody walks away happy.
The plot gets a little ridiculous as they try to weave all the characters together, but the ride is fun and I never felt that the premise had overstayed its welcome.
With this DVD release in mind, here are some of the other horrible bosses in world of TV and movies…
Michael Scott from The Office (US) and David Brent from The Office (UK)
While both are charming and eventually likeable, neither one belongs in a position of power. They rely on other employees to make their tough decisions for them and are socially inept. They try to be the best friend to every member of their staff, but ruin this with awkward interactions and poor judgment. Both Steve Carrell and Ricky Gervais played the role beautifully and yet differently, given the dissimilarity between North American and British comedy.
Louie De Palma from Taxi
Always harping at his drivers from the safety of his dispatch cage, De Palma (Danny Devito) uses the Sunshine Cab Company as his own personal dart board, hurling insult after insult at his menagerie of cabbies. De Palma revels in being a bad guy and stops at nothing to get what he wants and mess with the lives of his crew. Devito played the role for five seasons to much critical acclaim, winning an Emmy and Golden Globe and being ranked first on TV Guide’s 1999 list of the 50 Greatest TV Characters Ever. De Palma received all this love, despite being a complete scumbag.
J. Jonah Jameson from Spiderman
Poor Peter Parker just can’t get any respect from ol’ Triple J. Not only that, but Parker always has to worry about Jameson’s unjustified vendetta against Spidey. Played in the movie trilogy by J.K. Simmons, Jameson’s no-nonsense, gruff exchanges with his entire staff and rants that push him to the limits of hypertension make him an easy boss to hate.
Ari Gold from Entourage
The way Gold (Jeremy Piven) abuses his employees, particularly his faithful assistant Lloyd, is just brutal. Gold has burned a number of bridges throughout his career, thanks to his crass style, fraught with racism and sexism, and was eventually forced to start his own agency when all other options had been torched. Piven won three straight Emmy’s for his portrayal of Gold, showing that it’s good to be bad.
Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada
This ultra-bitch takes pride in demeaning her employees and never acknowledges that the constant turnover of her staff is due to her behaviour. Priestly (Meryl Streep) goes through assistants so frequently that she doesn’t try to learn the next candidate’s name and just calls them Emily, the name of the last girl she bothered to remember. Her greatest crime may be the unreasonable demands she forces onto her team, such as sending her assistant on a doomed-from-the-start search for Harry Potter books for each of her children, despite the tome not having been released yet.
Charles Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons
Mr. Burns (voiced by Harry Shearer) has a long and sordid history of treating his employees like garbage. His greatest crimes include taking away his staff’s dental plan and precious donuts. He’s also drawn the ire of those who he doesn’t employ thanks to a scheme where he tried to block out the sun and his nuclear power plant’s many safety violations. Still, there’s something loveable about the senile old curmudgeon.
Bill Lumbergh from Office Space
“Mmmm, yeah… I’m going to need you to come in on Saturday… and Sunday, as well.” Is there anything that draws the ire more of workers than having to work on their well-deserved weekends? This is only one of Lumbergh’s (Gary Cole) many offences, but by far the one that sets off his employee and nemesis Peter, who in turn tries to defraud the company of millions.
Cosmo Spacely from The Jetson’s
The bane in George Jetson’s existence. No matter what Jetson does, he’s due for some top-of-the-lungs screaming from Spacely, although the pint-sized sprockets magnate’s anger is often misdirected towards his loyal employee.
Frank Shirley from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
While Shirley (Brian Doyle-Murray) learns his lesson in the end and reinstates his company’s Christmas bonus policy, the way he originally left them all in the lurch and tried to get away with enrolling them in the jelly-of-the-month club, as a palatable substitute, was just downright despicable.