Throw your hands in the air, like you just don't care.

Throw your hands in the air, like you just don’t care.

An unexpected hit in 2011 (on the wake of The Hangover frenzy), Horrible Bosses was an impish, moderately pleasant comedy with an overachieving cast. Much of it success had to do with the three leads’ chemistry: Jason Bateman as the straight man, Charlie Day as the neurotic sidekick, and Jason Sudeikis as the wild card. Ego, superego and id.

While tolerable, there wasn’t anything about Horrible Bosses that cried ‘sequel’. US$200 million worldwide after, here is a follow up, with exactly the same cast (minus Colin Farrell, who died in the first one) plus a two-time Academy Award winner and the newest Captain Kirk to boot.

Tired of putting up with egotistical superiors, Dale, Kurt and Nick come up with a Sharper Image-type gadget that should free them from ever dealing with power-tripping jerks. They prove a failure as entrepreneurs by allowing an ethically challenged executive (Christoph Waltz) steal their invention from under their noses. As retaliation, the trio kidnaps the businessman’s son (Chris Pine) in exchange for money to buy the company back. The half-baked plan only grows more harebrained from there.

Directed by the frequently terrible Sean Anders (That’s My Boy, Sex Drive), Horrible Bosses 2 has no original ideas or jokes for that matter. Just one-dimensional characters riffing off each other (Jennifer Aniston’s sex-crazed dentist is an egregious offender). This approach can be amusing at times, but eventually the audience catches up with the gig.

Oddly, the sequel’s MVP is one of the newcomers: Chris Pine. His douchey, borderline psychotic act is the sole fresh element in a saga that already feels stale. Even the outtakes are overcooked.

One and a half prairie dogs. Horrible Bosses 2 is now playing.