In the original film, Nick (Jason Sudeikis), Kurt (Jason Bateman), and Dale (Charlie Day) worked together in a comedic Strangers on a Train scenario where they would kill off each other’s Horrible Bosses. In the sequel, their Shower Buddy idea is going nowhere, and they set out to kidnap Rex (Chris Pine), the son of a businessman who has double-crossed them (Christoph Waltz). It leads to the same sorts of laughs as the first (maybe even a few more of them) as the threesome settles in to their relationships without maintaining much of a backstory.
Seth Anders has written or directed some seriously films of varying comedic genius, depending on your definition of funny: Mr. Popper’s Penguins, We’re the Millers, Dumb & Dumber To. But here, he takes John Francis Daley’s (Bones, Freaks & Geeks) and shows exactly how difficult it is to overcome yourselves and any desire you have to go out on your own in business and in life. The film itself shows more of a streamlined plot after Pine’s Rex fakes his own kidnapping while these three stooges are trying to plan his kidnapping than the tri-part original, and it makes for a stronger backbone for a film that has less ‘one-offs’ and more conceptual ideas.
Somehow, regardless of how brutally stupid and ridiculous this film is, there’s something earnestly funny about Sudeikis, Bateman, and Day. [Disclaimer: I went to high school with Day and never knew he was this funny.] They genuinely seem to like each other in interviews, and it carries over to their rapport here. While they’d have enough comedic juice to carry most movies, Pine is the wild card who delivers. He’s not Captain Kirk, or Jack Ryan, but instead a tortured son who longs to be loved by his rich father who snaps when life gets too hard: he’s so over the top that he steals the scenes he’s in.
Overall, this isn’t great, but fans of the three main folks, or of the actors of tidbit cameo roles (Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx) will dig the special features like “Endless Laughter Guaranteed” or “Off the Cuff: One-Liners You Didn’t See” where we get more of these funny people (sort of) off camera. Even so, I’ll have to leave this somewhere below spectacular. rating: rainy day it