I have to be honest–I thought this movie was hilarious. I predict that quotes from it are going to become standard fare in some circles. Yes, it’s definitely rated R, but they mostly steer towards really awful gags only to veer away at the last second. There were a couple of parts, though, that made me very uncomfortable, and obviously, obviously, you shouldn’t kill or try to kill your boss, not matter how horrible they are. (Do I really have to spell that out?)
If you couldn’t tell from the posters or previews, this comedy is based around three friends that are so frustrated with their horrible bosses they decide to kill them. These bosses aren’t just Michael Scott bumbling idiot bad, they’re, like, morally bankrupt bad. (That’s probably so we don’t have any pesky ethical reservations or sympathy getting in the way of our laughter.) In a way their eventual downfalls do feel like justice, but again, you shouldn’t really try to kill your boss!
There were a lot of avenues the guys could have pursued instead, if they really thought their bosses were so bad. Quit. Try to find a different job. Put in the hard work to start your own business enterprise if you can’t find a job. Maybe go to the board or the investors or the police or whoever and tattle on your horrible boss in the hopes he’ll be reprimanded or removed–I mean that’s no less risky than facing life in prison if you’re convicted for murder.
And while there may be times when a work situation is so toxic it’s untenable, and I do think workers deserve to be treated fairly and adequately reimbursed for their labors, Christians have been instructed “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” (Colossians 3:23). Your earthly boss isn’t the only one you’re working for–so what if he or she doesn’t appreciate you, are you still turning in a performance and displaying behavior that God would be proud of? Maybe you didn’t get the promotion you thought you deserved, but when you die you’re going to get a “promotion” you definitely don’t deserve, so…tough it out. Find joy in something else. Like I said, of course there are times when it’s not worth it, but killing your boss is, I’m pretty sure, never the Christian thing to do. I mean, there’s no “thou shalt not kill thy boss,” but, you know, there’s regular “thou shalt not kill.”
These guys don’t claim to be Christians, of course, and they are drunk when they first discuss their idea. Jason Bateman’s character is even careful to point out, “We were just blowing off steam, none of us are actually gonna kill our bosses!” And when things do get more “serious,” they prove to be pretty ineffectual murderers. They turn to tools like NavGuide and Craigslist for help, and they can’t even coordinate pulling out of a parking lot smoothly.
The part that made me the most uncomfortable was Dale’s (Charlie Day) situation. His boss (Jennifer Aniston) is sexually harassing him. I mean really. Not just inappropriate comments. The same thing in reverse, (a male boss with a female subordinate), would be unthinkable in a comedy. Because it’s not at all funny. Why is it supposed to be funny this way? It’s really not. Dale’s mistreatment is worse than the other guys’, and he was my favorite, too, because he was the worst at being a would-be killer (and the best at being a decent human with a conscious). I felt like his boss’s downfall was the least just, too. In my mind her behavior was the worst and **SPOILER ALERT** she suffered no physical or legal consequences, not even public humiliation. And why would he want to keep working there, even if the behavior stopped? It’s not like they can ever possibly have a good working relationship. **END SPOILER**
The ultimate message of this movie: Blackmail is a great way to get what you want. Just make sure you get a recording. Not Biblical, not a good idea in real life. But if you are okay with f-bombs and innuendos, this is not a horrible movie.