Film review: Horrible Bosses 2 (15, 108 mins)

Horrible Bosses 2: Dr Julia Harris (JENNIFER ANNISTON)
Horrible Bosses 2: Dr Julia Harris (JENNIFER ANNISTON)
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Aniston show has its mind in the gutter

Released in 2011, Horrible Bosses centred on three friends, who plotted to kill their sadistic employers and found self-respect in the process.

Sean Anders’ raunchy sequel flings that self-respect out of the window and subjects the same unfortunate characters to a barrage of potty-mouthed humiliations that might be tolerable if we could muster an iota of sympathy for anyone in this redundant and joyless mess.

Alas, the lumbering script, scrawled by Anders and John Morris, has its mind in the gutter.

The luminous Jennifer Aniston spends the entire film spouting sexually explicit obscenities as an aggressive alpha female with an addiction to sins of the flesh. During the end credit out-takes, she refuses to deliver one line and smirks, “I can’t say that!”

Considering the filth that tumbles from her perfectly glossed lips, it’s hard to imagine anything that could provoke this polite resistance.

Our resistance to the sequel is resolute.

Best friends Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) appear on Good Morning Los Angeles to launch their invention, Shower Buddy, which dispenses shampoo directly into the cascading water.

Burt Hanson (Christoph Waltz), multi-millionaire owner of a giant mail-order retailer, places an initial order of 100,000 units.

Once the final Shower Buddy has been lovingly manufactured and packaged, Burt ruthlessly cancels his order and unveils a rip-off called Shower Pal, which is manufactured cheaper abroad.

“I hate to break it to you, but the American Dream is made in China,” grins Burt’s son Rex (Chris Pine).

Faced with financial ruin, Nick, Dale and Kurt foresee one way out: kidnap the younger Hanson and ransom the son for a small fortune.

This hare-brained scheme takes an unexpected twist when Rex asks to be cut in on the deal.

“Help me help you get revenge on my dad!” he implores.

The plan spirals out of control and the trio crosses paths once again with cool cat associate Dean Jones (Jamie Foxx), jailbird David Harken (Kevin Spacey) and Dale’s old boss, sexual predator Dr Julia Harris (Aniston).

Horrible Bosses 2 doesn’t work on any level.

Bateman’s solid low-key performance contrasts starkly with the irritating double-act of Day and Sudeikis.

Like a pair of wasps trapped in a jam jar, they buzz endlessly as dim-witted dullards, who barely seem capable of drawing breath, let alone carrying out a kidnapping.