Of the three satanic employers in Horrible Bosses, only one really amuses me. It’s not Jennifer Aniston with her rumored topless scene; and while Kevin Spacey pushing around Jason Bateman will undoubtedly be a lot of fun, he still comes in second to the actor I’m most excited to see play a power-tripping asshole: Colin Farrell. See, despite headlining cheesy sweeping historical epics and brooding war dramas, he’s actually a good actor. The key? Comedy.
Put Colin Farrell in a comedy and he will shine. The first level of this is the unexpected: For 2008′s In Bruges we expected a tormented but boring assassin and got instead a dour assassin who feels regret and who delightfully bitches about his boring hideout after a hit gone wrong. He delivers one-liners with excellent timing and even has some great physical comedy in the scenes where he’s getting shot at or tangling with little people. The brilliance is in the type of character he plays: Indignant, whiny, and unable to control the situation.
Even after the surprise wears off, Farrell’s still got the chops. His next project to be released after Horrible Bosses is Fright Night, where he plays a sadistic vampire preying on Anton Yelchin‘s hometown. Though it’s darker than his other projects, it’s still categorized as a black comedy, as Jerry (Farrell) smirks and stalks Yelchin’s mother and girlfriend. Jerry’s the exact opposite of Ray from In Bruges, yet in this project he’s managed to be a scary presence like he couldn’t in other straight dramas.
Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule, and here that’s last year’s Oscar-winning drama Crazy Heart. A reviewer at Sea Coast Online says she expected to be bowled over by Jeff Bridges‘ performance but was unable to tear her eyes away from Farrell — whose involvement in the film was an open secret that didn’t get any coverage until the movie actually came out. Maybe the studio thought that it shouldn’t risk publicizing Farrell in the movie due to his bad-boy reputation. You can bet that that won’t be the case for the next time.
Horrible Bosses looks less subtle than Fright Night and certainly In Bruges, but I’m willing to trust that Colin Farrell in a fat suit and a bald skull cap, forcing Jason Sudeikis to fire the company’s fat employees, will be one of the funnier parts of the movie.