Horrible Bosses

  • Review Date: July 8, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Common Sense Media says

All-star comedy is pretty raunchy -- and hilarious.
  • Review Date: July 8, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 100 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The three main characters each have a serious problem to solve, with seemingly no easy or rational way out. Their behavior -- planning to murder their "horrible bosses" -- is inexcusable, but the movie shows that none of them would really go through with it. The fact that they actually take steps to solve their problems is somewhat admirable, and in the end they do learn to be (slightly) more responsible.

Positive role models

Kurt is a serial seducer who sleeps with at least two women during the course of the movie, and Nick seems like the most calculating (and therefore the most likely to go through with the plan). Dale isn't as smart as the other two, but of the three main characters, he seems to have the best heart and is usually the one who suggests doing the right thing. The bosses, of course, have no redeeming qualities.


One character pulls out a gun, fires several shots, and kills a man; there's a little blood. In another scene, a character stabs a man several times with a hypodermic needle in an effort to alleviate a fatal allergic reaction. A character is punched out. The main characters also sometimes squabble amongst themselves, slapping and hitting each other. One is sexually harassed by his boss.


No nudity, but very heavy sexual innuendo. One female character is constantly trying to seduce a male character. She appears with nothing on except a lab coat (which covers all her sensitive parts), taunts him with phallic imagery, and uses strong sexual language. One of the main characters is a serial seducer; he flirts with several women and sleeps with at least two of them (off screen). Another man also flirts with, kisses, and fondles many women. There's a scene involving a man who urinates on other men for pleasure, but nothing is shown.


Almost-constant strong language includes nonstop use of words including "f--k" and "s--t" (in all their variations), plus "p---y," "bitch," "a--hole," "c--k," "prick," "d--k," "balls," vagina," "faggot," "damn," "crap," "hand job," "goddamn," "douchebag," and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).


A mention of Applebee's, an image of a FedEx delivery person, and an image of someone playing Angry Birds.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One of the bad guys has a cocaine habit, though he's never seen snorting. The main characters accidentally drop a box containing cocaine and get a massive contact high from breathing the airborne powder. One of the heroes is tricked into gulping a glass of Scotch at work. The guys drink beer in a bar after work.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this funny-but-raunchy comedy earns its R rating with scenes that include violence (guns and shooting, some fighting), heavy sexual innuendo (though no nudity), and almost constant foul language (including "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and much more). Plus, one of the movie's villains has a cocaine problem, and the main characters are seen (accidentally) getting high as well as drinking. Of the three main characters (played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day), one is a serial seducer who sleeps with more than one woman during the movie, but the others -- despite planning to murder their evil bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston) -- are generally good-hearted people.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Hoping for an elusive promotion, Nick (Jason Bateman) is forced to suck up to a maniacal CEO (Kevin Spacey); Dale (Charlie Day) is engaged to be married but works for a sexy, sexually aggressive dentist (Jennifer Aniston); and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) finds his dream job at a chemical plant threatened when the boss' cocaine-addicted son (Colin Farrell) unexpectedly takes charge. After work, the three friends share their woes and come up with the idea to murder all three HORRIBLE BOSSES. They hire a "consultant" (Jamie Foxx) and begin preparing for their homicidal plan. But it's not long before things go horribly, hilariously awry.

Is it any good?


Director Seth Gordon (The King of Kong, Four Christmases) has the good sense to simply step aside here, letting his cast goof around and bounce off of one another like so many rubber balls. Each character finds a nice niche and runs with it: Bateman plays the straight man, Day is the "dumb one," and Sudeikis finds a nice middle ground. The villains are clearly having a terrific time, too; Aniston is at the top of her game, and Spacey is on familiar territory. Only Farrell seems to be trying something new here with broad comedy, and it fits him well (it appears, judging from the bloopers at the end, that some of his scenes didn't make the final cut, which is a shame).


Especially cathartic for today's luckless job-seekers, the movie's humor is highly raunchy, but it has enough inventively playful moments between characters to make the movie memorable for a long time to come. Expect many genuine belly laughs, rather than just the usual surprised chuckles.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether the main characters are sympathetic and/or admirable people. What makes them different from their bosses?

  • At least two characters think about sex most of the time and sleep with more than one partner. Is this a healthy outlet for them? What could they do differently?

  • Do the horrible bosses qualify as bullies? What are some more positive ways to handle bullies?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 8, 2011
DVD release date:October 11, 2011
Cast:Charlie Day, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis
Director:Seth Gordon
Studios:New Line, Warner Bros.
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug material

This review of Horrible Bosses was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old October 13, 2011

horrible bosses is hilarious

im 11 i have seen this movie 3 times and its hilarious but there are many crude and inappropriate jokes made by pellitt and julia but if you have mature kids that like comedies they will love it. there is one scene where a guy has cocaine at his house and they accidentally get high by knocking it over and another scene where nick drinks scotch in the morning and his boss makes a very crude joke. and a bad phone conversation comes later around the end and gregory plays it back and theres a tape recorder that has something over the top. but that movie is HILARIOUS.
Parent Written bybbutcher July 16, 2011

Laugh for the Adults; Leave Kids at Home

As a young adult, I really found this movie hilarious. There are many parts of the movie that I laughed out loud, but this is no movie for kids. Foul language and sexual innuendos are very very common.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byJoyC July 5, 2012

Too Raunchy for Many

Extremely raunchy. Not appropriate for kids, and many parents. Many will be offended by the language and some subject matter.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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