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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Horrible Bosses

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Death," runs a Russian aphorism, "solves all problems; no man, no problem." This cynical saying, often attributed—plausibly, if not factually—to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, finds an echo (albeit a supposedly humorous one) in the plot of the mean-spirited, frequently sordid comedy "Horrible Bosses" (Warner Bros.).

Exasperated by the varied misbehaviors of their respective supervisors, but fearful of quitting their jobs amid the current economic downturn, three friends—played by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis—plot to eliminate their irksome employers the old-fashioned way: by murdering them.

What drives these normally law-abiding pals to such a desperate pass? Industrial executive Nick (Bateman) is perpetually being browbeaten and exploited by his intimidating superior Dave (Kevin Spacey).

The chemical manufacturing company for which Kurt (Sudeikis) works as an accountant is being run into the ground by the egotistical, cocaine-addicted heir (Colin Farrell) of its recently deceased—and thoroughly sympathetic—founder (Donald Sutherland).

And, much to the amusement of his amigos, dental hygienist Dale (Day) is the victim of unrelenting sexual harassment by Julia (Jennifer Aniston), the nymphomaniacal tooth doctor who signs his paychecks.

Of course, much of the humor in what follows focuses on this fundamentally decent trio's inept attempts to execute their outlandish scheme, during the later stages of which they are shown to experience some appropriate moral qualms.

But director Seth Gordon's film treats wayward sexuality as fodder for laughs. In addition to Julia's insatiable appetite, elements so trivialized include the hedonistic doings of Farrell's character and the activities of two incidental figures, each of whom makes a living catering to aberrant desires.

As for the dialogue in the script by Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, it's riddled with ribaldry.

The film contains strong sexual content, including brief but graphic images of nonmarital and group sex, masturbation, partial nudity, drug use, references to perversion, about 15 uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. 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.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.





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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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