Two new offerings come to Utah bargain theaters this week: one meant to be uplifting and spiritually inspirational, the other not so much. ---
The not-so-much comes from Horrible Bosses, a raunchy tale of three pals (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) whose miserable professional situations inspire them to a Strangers on a Train-like pact: They’ll kill one another’s bosses. Great supporting performances—including Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston as the titular case studies in inappropriate management practices—elevate the whole enterprise, but there’s a structural laziness at the core that makes it feel like wasted potential. Rarely have I laughed so much at a movie I’m not sure I actually liked all that much.
Writer/director T.C. Christensen aims for something considerably more family-friendly with 17 Miracles, loosely based on historical accounts of two different Mormon handcart treks, here combined for dramatic efficiency into one. And unfortunately, that’s the only part of the film where dramatic concerns seem to enter into the thinking, because the reality is that miracles aren’t very interesting as drama. It’s lovely to look at, but when every crisis is destined to be resolved by a prayer, it’s hard to care unless you’re one of the converted it’s preaching to.