NEW YORK (CNS) — In the 2011 original to which “Horrible Bosses 2” (Warner Bros.) serves as a follow-up, a trio of bunglers set out to murder the workplace superiors who were making their lives miserable.

While the sequel finds the same characters intent on the lesser offense of kidnapping, a base and frivolous treatment of human sexuality, together with an excess of foul language, makes this second go-round as unacceptable as the first.

Hoping to free themselves permanently from having to take orders at the office, friends Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) have become aspiring entrepreneurs. Their plan is to market an innovative showerhead Dale has invented.


A morning television segment devoted to the gadget draws the attention of high-powered father-and-son executives Bert (Christoph Waltz) and Rex (Chris Pine) Hanson. Though Hanson senior offers the trio an apparently sweet deal, they soon discover they’ve been double crossed.

Facing bankruptcy as a result, the pals strike on the plan of abducting Rex and using the ransom money to stave off ruin. On the advice of Dean Jones (Jamie Foxx), the same shady ex-con who offered them guidance during the first film, they decide to drug Rex before snatching him to make sure he doesn’t put up any resistance.

Their sedative of choice? Laughing gas, the opiate with which another recurring character — sex-addicted dentist Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) — once tried to make adamantly faithful husband Dale, formerly her hygienist, pliable for seduction.

Characteristically, the constantly bickering buddies make a mess of things and decide to call a halt to the whole enterprise. But Rex, it turns out, has other ideas.

Director and co-writer (with John Morris) Sean Anders plays on the morally respectable theme of basically decent people making comically inept criminals.

But the reintroduction of compulsively bed-hopping Julia — the amigos break into her office to steal the nitrous oxide — leads to visuals and dialogue demeaning to human dignity and marital faithfulness. Add to that the constant volleys of vulgarity in the script, and the appropriate viewership for “Horrible Bosses 2” shrinks to nil.

The film contains distant but graphic images of casual and aberrant sex, much sexual humor, mature themes, including adultery and homosexuality, frequent uses of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language and an obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.


Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.