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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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Gregory the Great: Coming events cast their shadows before: Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome. 
<p>Ordained a priest, he became one of the pope's seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, and at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome. </p><p>He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of "Gregorian" chant is disputed. </p><p>Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king. </p><p>An Anglican historian has written: "It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great." </p><p>His book, <i>Pastoral Care</i>, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called "the Great," Gregory has been given a place with Augustine (August 28), Ambrose (December 7) and Jerome (September 30)as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.</p> American Catholic Blog Loving trust and total surrender made Our Lady say yes to the message of the angel, and cheerfulness made her run in haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth. So much in our lives, too, is saying yes to Jesus, and running haste to serve him in the poorest of the poor.  –Mother Theresa

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