Film Screening 21st October, 2011

Poster for Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses 

8:00 PM, 21st October, 2011

  • MA
  • 97 mins
  • 2011
  • Seth Gordon
  • Michael Markowitz,  John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
  • Jason Bateman,  Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis

Dale Arbus (Day), Kurt Buckman (Sudeikis) and Nick Hendricks (Bateman) are three friends who come to the conclusion that their lives would be a whole lot less miserable if they each killed their respective bosses. They enlist a ‘murder consultant’ (Jamie Foxx) from a seedy bar (where else?) and start their mission… with catastrophic – though not always intentionally – effect.

The result is Horrible Bosses, a hilarious romp featuring a star-studded cast – Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and a near-unrecognisable Colin Farrell star as the titular targets – entertaining a fantasy most people have dreamed of at least once or twice (don’t deny it). Their mishaps along the way are both numerous and amusing, as the audience roots for them in their effort to ‘take care’ of a smarmy corporate businessman (Spacey), a slimy company heir (Farrell) and, much to the other two friends’ bemusement, a sultry dentist (Aniston) who constantly sexually harasses Dale.

The talent on display is a veritable who’s who of great comedians, especially among the three murderers-in-the-making, all of whom have had outstanding comedic runs on television. Director Seth Gordon of King of Kong documentary fame ensures that the film’s outrageous plot proceeds with a light, humorous touch and that the cast – A-lister or otherwise – bring their A-game to what is one of the funniest films of the year.

Alex Henry

Poster for The Company Men

The Company Men 

9:52 PM, 21st October, 2011

  • M
  • 104 mins
  • 2010
  • John Wells
  • John Wells
  • Ben Affleck,  Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner

As a result of cutbacks arising from the Global Financial Crisis, three high-flying, obscenely wealthy corporate executives at fictional company GTX are faced with the unthinkable: being unemployed.

For Bobby Walker (Affleck), unemployment means losing the taken-for-granted trappings of his former life, to the detriment of his wife and son. Phil Woodard (Cooper), on the other hand, reacts with anger and hopelessness; the pervasive joblessness throughout the country coupled with his age means that he will likely never work again. The fall is furthest, however, for Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) who essentially built GTX from the ground up. Over the course of a year, the varying ways the three men cope results in a film that is both tragic and uplifting.

A fitting companion piece to the factual documentary Inside Job (also screening this semester), The Company Men is a solid first feature from writer-director John Wells. The cast is exceptional, with my only quibble that the three main characters are so inherently unlikeable that it can be hard to sympathise with them at times. If anything, the film's true hero would have to be Costner's relatively minor role as Bobby's down-to-earth brother-in-law, who offers him work as a carpenter.

On the other hand, if you enjoy a truly hiss-able villain then the downsizing CEO of GTX, James Salinger (Craig T. Nelson), is it. After a ruthless cost-benefit analysis, Salinger then lacks the guts to fire the three executives himself and instead delegates the dirty deed to his mortified HR manager (Maria Bello).

Richard Hills