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Bosses From Hell: This Summer's Cinematic Antiheroes

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 07/12/11 11:01 AM ET Updated: 09/11/11 06:12 AM ET

There's been no shortage of disgraced authority figures in the news lately. But if the recent spate of scandals hasn't satisfied your appetite for schadenfreude, then we suggest catching one of this month's films about powerful characters under fire. Who would you least like to encounter?

Bad Teacher (In theaters now)
Bearing the tagline "Some teachers just don't give an F," Jake Kasdan's black comedy follows the crude antics of a promiscuous, foulmouthed middle school educator, played by Cameron Diaz.

Offending behavior: Diaz's ditzy faculty member ditches meetings, gets high in the school parking lot, hides airplane bottles of Jack Daniels in her desk, schemes to seduce a colleague, and cares only about raising funds for a boob job.

Can this character be redeemed? No. Diaz's classless teacher deserves a pink slip, not an apple.

Horrible Bosses (In theaters now)
An executive (Jason Bateman), an accountant (Jason Sudeikis) and a dental assistant (Charlie Day) plot to bump off their abusive employers (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston).

Offending behavior: Bateman's boss forces him to drink scotch at 8am then publicly accuses him of alcoholism; Aniston drugs Day and subjects him to a raunchy photo shoot, later threatening to show his fiancé the evidence; Farrell asks Sudeikis to fire the office's "fat people" and a wheelchair-bound coworker. And that's just what's shown in the trailer.

Can these characters be redeemed? No. Any HR director worth his or her salt would sack these bullies in a second.

The Guard (Opens 7/29)

A lazy, confrontational small-town Irish policeman (Brendan Gleeson) is paired with a no-nonsense FBI agent (Don Cheadle) in this oddball buddy-cop comedy from John Michael McDonagh -- brother of dark-humor master Martin McDonagh - that won over audiences at Sundance.

Offending behavior: Gleeson's cop has a penchant for prostitutes, drops acid found in the pocket of a car-crash victim, drinks on the job, and makes racially insensitive comments.

Can this character be redeemed? Yes. Sergeant Boyle may be undisciplined, but he ultimately proves his heart is in the right place.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Opens 7/15)

The much-anticipated eighth installment of the series sees our beloved boy wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) in a final showdown with He Who Must Not Be Named.

Offending behavior: Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) continues to assume control of the Ministry of Magic and elude Harry and co. by hiding fragments of his soul in mystical objects called Horcruxes, steals the Elder Wand from Professor Dumbledore to achieve invincibility, creepily sneers "Only I can live forever," leads the Death Eaters in an epic battle at Hogwarts.

Can this character be redeemed? No. He's called "the Dark Lord" for a reason.

And if shamed politicos are more up your alley, may we recommend this upcoming Tom Cruise flick about a politician who returns to his hometown after being caught having an affair.

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