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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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Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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