Genre: Black Comedy/Caper.
Starring: Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey, Jason Sudekis, Colin Farrell, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx and Donald Sutherland.
Running Time: 99 mins. approx.
Seen At: The Trafford Centre
On: Thursday, 28th July.
Jennifer Aniston is normally so incredibly typecast, that even before her next film starts, you feel like you’ve already seen it: optimistic and free-spirited, but unlucky-in-love, she finally finds her Mr. Right.
So, it’s very refreshing to see her in a whole new light, playing a sexually frustrated nymphomaniac dentist no less!
Her usual golden locks are gone, replaced by devilish brunette tones, which only serve to hammer home her character’s man-eating status even more.
The basic premise is as follows – three supposedly ordinary friends (played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day), are each under the thumb of a maniacal boss.
Bateman has to contend with Kevin Spacey’s threatening slave-driver, Day is the dental assistant to Aniston – falling as the unsuspecting victim to her frequent advances, while the third boss is my favourite of the three – Colin Farrell’s cocaine-addicted discriminator with a comb-over. They’ve had enough, and set out to inconspicuously murder each other’s bosses...
If that scenario sounds familiar, you’re most likely remembering what I consider to be one of Hitchcock’s finest films – the 1951 classic Strangers On A Train.
The screenplay is erratically written and patchy to say the least, which means the dialogue is only occasionally mildly amusing, whereas the film’s misleading marketing means it’s advertised as being more consistently hilarious. Considering are empathy ought to lie with the three employees, why then do we as an audience seem to have so much more time for the three horrible bosses? Because they’re the ones having all the fun.
Kevin Spacey is clearly reveling in being so deliciously evil, Colin Farrell’s character is probably the funniest, while also oddly becoming the most insubstantial – owing to the fact it’s severely underwritten, and Aniston’s foul-mouthed innuendos are a rare treat to behold - like having her way with her patients while they’re under the influence of anesthesia – right there in the dental chair!
The admiring, occasional homages to Hitchcockian sentiment are lovingly crafted, and the ratio between the black-comedy element verses pure, knockabout slapstick - abundant with jokes centering around split stashes of cocaine, basic toilet-humour and cartoonish car chases – is tonally well balanced. It’s only lacking in the diamond-sharp screenplay that could’ve made it so much funnier, considering the sheer mass of comic potential on display.