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The Movie Man: Bad Bosses

Have you ever had a boss you absolutely hated? Seems like most folks have, and the movies have guilt-free revenge for you in several films where very bad bosses get their comeuppance. 


One of the best in this genre is 9 To 5 (1980), with Jane Fonda, Lilly Tomlin and Dolly Parton having a grand time kidnapping their horrible boss, Dabney Coleman. Their actions may be a little over the top, but you’ll find yourself cheering for the downtrodden workers. 


In Click (2006), architect Adam Sandler not only gets even with his bad boss (David Hasselhoff), but everyone else when Bed, Bath and Beyond employee Christopher Walken provides him with a “universal remote” that is exactly that. It enables him to change almost anything in the universe. Hi-jinks ensue. Even if you’re not a big Sandler fan (I’m not), this one is pretty good. 


Maggie Gyllenhaal is the extremely put-upon employee of attorney James Spader in Secretary (2002). Recovering from being hospitalized for self-harm, she becomes her boss’ sexual slave. This goes to really great lengths, and you will not see the end coming. OK, this one’s a little weird, but her revenge is of a different kind. 


Melanie Griffith is the heroine of the justly-praised Working Girl (1988). When her awful boss (Sigourney Weaver) steals her excellent idea, Griffith exacts delicious revenge by pretending to be her boss when Weaver is injured in a ski accident. Helped by new boyfriend and powerful executive Harrison Ford, she pulls off the switch. There are several reversals of fortune, but Griffith’s revenge is sweet and final. 


Love Crime (2011) features Kristin Scott Thomas as the Boss From Hell of poor Isabelle Guerin, who she enjoys humiliating, especially in front of others. She will find this was a huge mistake, as Guerin exacts especially final revenge. This excellent French film has two delicious twists!


We knew that Meryl Streep could play absolutely anything, and she proves it once again as the awful boss in The Devil Wears Prada (2006). She is the editor of a swanky fashion magazine, who seems to delight in humiliating newly hired Anne Hathaway. Hathaway strives mightily to fit in, almost becoming the thing she hates. Streep’s outrageous demands are extremely funny to us, though not to Hathaway.


In Swimming With Sharks (1994), Kevin Spacey is the horrible boss and Frank Whaley his poor assistant. This is definitely not a comedy, as we watch the employee gradually turn into a carbon copy of his employer. 


All of the films in this article are available on DVD. All are for grow-ups.