Nick Hendricks, Dale Arbus, and Kurt Buckman decide to start their own business after tiring of working for ungrateful bosses. Their idea is a car-wash-inspired shower head called the "Shower Buddy". They have trouble finding investors until they are approached by Bert Hanson and his son Rex. Bert admires their commitment to manufacturing the product themselves, while Rex prefers to outsource to China, and agrees to invest if they can make 100,000 units. Taking out a business loan, the three rent a warehouse, hire employees, and manage to produce their output. However, Bert backs out of their deal at the last minute, claiming that he never signed an agreement, and he plans to take their inventory in foreclosure and sell them (renamed the "Shower Pal") himself, while leaving the three in $500,000 debt with their outstanding loan.
Seeking financial advice, Nick, Dale, and Kurt visit Nick's old boss, Dave Harken, in prison (after the murder of Kurt's boss Bobby Pellit), who says the three have no feasible legal options to recover their losses. The three then resolve to kidnap Rex and hold him for ransom. They seek the help of "Motherfuckah" Jones, who says the best way to kidnap someone who knows them is to keep the victim unconscious for the duration of the kidnapping. The three create a ransom note asking for $500,000 and go to the office of Dale's old boss, Dr. Julia Harris, to steal a tank of nitrous oxide. While there, Kurt and Dale are almost caught by Julia's sex addiction group meeting; after the group leaves, Nick has sex with Julia, providing the distraction that allows Dale and Kurt to escape the building. The trio goes to Rex's house, but while they hide in the closet, Dale accidentally turns on the tank and they pass out. When they wake up in the morning, they find Rex gone.
When they arrive back at the warehouse, they find Rex tied up in the trunk of their car. Rex gets out and reveals he found them hiding in his closet, but decided to stage his own kidnapping with them due to his strained relationship with his dad and numerous personal debts. Rex sent the ransom note to his dad and increased the ransom to $5 million. The three are uncertain of Rex's plan, but Rex threatens to go to the police if they back out. They call Bert to inform him of Rex's kidnapping, threatening to kill Rex if Bert calls the cops. However, the police, led by Detective Hatcher, subsequently arrive at their warehouse to question Nick, Dale, and Kurt due to their involvement with Bert. When the police leave, Rex breaks down, knowing Bert cares more about his money than his son. Now sympathetic to Rex, the trio agrees to work with him in the fake kidnapping, and all four devise a plan to outsmart the police and take the ransom money, utilizing untraceable phones, a basement garage to block out any tracking signal, and Kurt disguising himself as Bert.
While the plan is in motion, Nick, Dale, and Kurt find that Kurt left Bert his own phone instead of the untraceable one. They nevertheless call Bert on Kurt's phone to give him the instructions. Before they leave, Julia arrives at their hotel room and demands to sleep with Dale or else she will report them for breaking into her office. Dale's wife Stacy, whom Dale has three daughters with, arrives, and believing Dale is cheating on her with Julia, storms off. Dale angrily locks Julia in the bathroom so the three can leave. In the basement garage, Nick, Dale, and Kurt, wearing masks, tell Bert to give back the cell phone. Bert is killed by Rex, who reveals that, after seeing that his father did not care about him, he decided to kill Bert and frame Nick, Dale, and Kurt in order to inherit the family business. Rex forces Kurt to switch pants as Rex's pants have Bert's blood on them.
As the trio are about to be cornered by the police, Jones arrives, as he anticipated that the three would be betrayed and killed and was seeking to claim the ransom money for himself. He attempts to help them get back to the warehouse where Rex is supposed to be tied up, with the police chasing them, before Rex does so they can prove their innocence. When they get back to the warehouse, Jones escapes with the money and the police arrive to find Rex tied up. Before the police arrest Nick, Dale, and Kurt, Kurt's phone rings in Rex's pocket, and the police recognize the ringtone as the same phone that was left to Bert by the kidnappers. Rex tries to claim the phone is his, but when Hatcher asks why Rex did not bother to call the police if he had a phone, Rex takes Hatcher hostage. Dale attempts to attack Rex, but Rex shoots him, which distracts Rex long enough for Hatcher to subdue him.
A few days later, Dale wakes up in the hospital to find out the three did get in trouble, but because Dale helped save Hatcher's life, the police dropped the charges. He also finds out Julia helped make amends with Stacy, although she hints at having had sex with him during his coma and promises to have sex with his wife as well. In the aftermath, their business goes into foreclosure, but is subsequently purchased by Harken in prison, who allows the three of them to stay employed. Jones, meanwhile, uses the ransom money to invest in Pinkberry.
Following the first film's release in July 2011, director Seth Gordon confirmed that talks were underway for a sequel due to the financial success of the film in the United States, saying: "Yeah, we've definitely discussed it. It's done well in the States, the film has, so that's becoming a more concerted effort now, we're trying to figure out what the sequel could be." On January 4, 2012, it was confirmed that a sequel was moving forward, and that screenwriters John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein would be returning to write the script. At this time, New Line Cinema was reported to be negotiating with Gordon to return as director as well as with Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis to return in the lead roles. On February 27, 2012, it was confirmed that Goldstein and Daley were in the process of writing the new script. In March 2013, Goldstein and Daley confirmed that they had submitted multiple draft scripts for the sequel, and that production had moved towards finalizing the budget. Later in the same month Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis were confirmed to be reprising their roles, with Jamie Foxx negotiating to return. The film was once again produced by Brett Ratner and Jay Stern.
In August 2013, it was announced that Gordon would not be returning to direct because of scheduling conflicts and that the studio was actively searching for a replacement. In September 2013, Sean Anders was announced as Gordon's replacement, with John Morris joining the production as a producer. The pair had previously performed a rewrite on Goldstein's and Daley's sequel script. In September 2013, Jennifer Aniston signed on to reprise her role as Julia Harris.
Principal photography took place in Burbank, California between September 2013 and June 2014.
The first trailer was released on September 30, 2014.
On September 27, 2013, it was announced that the film would be released on November 26, 2014.
Horrible Bosses 2 grossed $54.4 million in North America and $53.2 million in other territories for a total worldwide gross of $107.7 million worldwide, against a budget of $42 million. This was just over half its predecessor's total gross of $209 million.
The film was released on November 26, 2014 in the United States and Canada across 3,321 theatres. It earned $1 million from Tuesday night previews and $4.3 million (including previews) on its opening day. The next day on Thanksgiving Day it earned $3.1 million, for a two-day total of $7.3 million. On Friday the film earned $6.2 million. In its opening weekend it earned $15.5 million (a five-day total of $23 million), finishing fifth at the box office.
Outside North America, the film was released to 42 markets and earned $11.7 million from 4,900 screens. The highest debuts came from Russia ($2.3 million), the United Kingdom ($2 million), Mexico ($1.13 million) and Germany ($1 million).
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 34% based on 140 reviews with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Horrible Bosses 2 may trigger a few belly laughs among big fans of the original, but all in all, it's a waste of a strong cast that fails to justify its own existence." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 40 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, the same grade earned by its predecessor.
Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter said, "The jokes start growing stale well before the film's midpoint." Justin Chang of Variety called the film an "inane and incredibly tasteless sequel." Dan Callahan of TheWrap told that "the result is puerile, ugly and painfully unfunny." Moira MacDonald of The Seattle Times gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "Lots of gags fly by, many of them in questionable taste (some downright offensive) and most of them unfunny." Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film one out of four stars, saying "This ill-conceived sequel to 2011's entertaining Horrible Bosses is base, moronic, insulting and vulgar. It's also cringingly unfunny." Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film two and a half out of four stars and said, "A new misadventure whose negligibly refined formula somehow ends up being more consistently entertaining." Stephen Holden of The New York Times said that the film is "one of the sloppiest and most unnecessary Hollywood sequels ever made, isn't dirtier or more offensive than its 2011 forerunner. But it is infinitely dumber and not half as funny."
Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave one out of four stars, saying "Duct tape, thick rope and the threat of being shot all figure prominently in Horrible Bosses 2. All would have been required to keep me in my seat if it weren't my job to report back on this factory-issued sequel." Betsy Sharkey of Los Angeles Times said, "Make no mistake, despite some well-earned laughs, Horrible Bosses 2 is not what qualifies as a good movie or even a particularly good R-rated comedy." Joe Williams of St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave the film two out of four stars and said, "Horrible Bosses 2 is further proof that likable actors have to take an occasional sick day." James Berardinelli gave the film one and a half stars out of four and wrote for ReelViews, "Horrible Bosses 2 (emphasis on "horrible") is an apt title for this repugnant, unnecessary sequel."
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 24, 2015. Like the first film, the Blu-ray release contains an extended version, which runs an additional eight minutes longer than the 108-minute theatrical cut.