Sequels are always a hard thing to do right, having to walk a line between providing more of what fans loved about the original but also telling its own story has been the downfall of many up and coming franchises. Comedy sequels are even harder since the characters were likely created for a one-and-done plot and side characters only exist to be one-note punchlines. Zoolander 2 and Anchorman 2 are examples of sequels that failed to reach the heights of the originals, but Jason Bateman’s Horrible Bosses 2, boosted by the all-star cast, avoids most of the common pitfalls of comedy sequels.
According to FlixPatrol, the 2014 comedy Horrible Bosses 2 is currently one of the top films on HBO Max, set three years after the wildly successful Horrible Bosses. Both movies follow three friends Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day), with the second following up after the trio delt with their bosses from the original, and now finding themselves running their own business. Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and Rex Hanson (Chris Pine) make a large order from their company, prompting the three friends to take out a million dollar business loan, before backstabbing them and stealing their product.
Reprising their roles from the original are Jennifer Aniston, as Dr. Julia Harris, Dale’s sexually aggressive boss from the first film that is still obsessed with him. Though this time, Dr. Harris is trying to get with Dale’s wife, Stacy, played by Lindsay Sloane. Jason Bateman’s horrible boss, David Harken (Kevin Spacey) makes an appearance as well, as does Dean Jones (Jamie Foxx), in an expanded role the second time around.
Jason Bateman has starred in lots of comedies, but Horrible Bosses remains his best live action film, Zootopia is his best overall as the comedian voiced Nick, the con-artist Fox. The original film made over $200 million during its initial run, against a budget of only $35 million, making it a smash success for 20th Century Fox. Praised by critics for the comedic chemistry of the three leads, even while plotting to commit murder, the original is 69% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes while the sequel is 35% fresh.
The sequel is panned, perhaps unfairly, for being more of the same, which is doing a disservice to the continued comedic interplay among Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day. Again, Day is singled out by critics and fans as the best performance, next to Aniston’s sex-crazed caricature that keeps being amusing just because the Friends star leans into the absurdity of the script.
Before making Horrible Bosses, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman starred together in rom-com The Switch, an absurd film about artificial insemination. After making Horrible Bosses, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis starred together in We’re The Millers, a comedy about a fake family trying to smuggle drugs out of Mexico. There’s been no word yet on Jennifer Aniston and Charlie Day starring in a comedy together, but at this point, it has to happen just to give her the complete set.