Horrible Bosses star standing tall in Hollywood
At a time when more Hollywood comedians are flaunting their loudness and lewdness, Jason Sudeikis' rise to stardom seems remarkably understated and subdued.
Sure, there have been public romances with leading actresses (Sudeikis previously dated Mad Men's January Jones and he is now happily ensconced with Olivia Wilde and their 7-month-old son Otis).
But, unlike many of his peers, Sudeikis hasn't had to apologise for politically incorrect rants that went viral, or launched a war on Twitter.
He is never asked about any similarities between himself and the screwed-up characters he plays on screen - whether it's a family man going off the rails in Hall Pass or a small-time drug dealer in We're the Millers - for good reason.
Sudeikis, 39, is now one of the hottest properties in Hollywood, having featured in four films that have grossed more than US$200 million ($258 million) worldwide in the past six years.
He possesses a boyish, goofy comedic appeal, his relaxed mien enhanced by the fact that he's a late developer by Hollywood standards - he only acted in his first film in 2007.
Sudeikis' new film, Horrible Bosses 2, is hardly understated or subdued. Horrible Bosses was a 2011 black comedy in which a trio of bitter workers played by Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day murdered their tyrannical managers.
Most of the starry supporting players return for the sequel - Jennifer Aniston as a sex-crazed dentist, Kevin Spacey as a psychopathic CEO and Jamie Foxx as the ex-con "murder consultant".
Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz is a millionaire investor who steals the workers' money.
The success of Horrible Bosses took Hollywood off-guard, tapping into audiences' own experiences with micro-managing superiors in the workplace.
But for the second film, Sudeikis says, they've cast a wider net and taken a look at economic inequality: "While we're not preaching or trying to change anybody's minds, they are a reflection of the times. It started out as comedic conceit/bar-banter between three pals getting so frustrated with their bosses that they killed them. Here the theme underlying it as a jumping point is the 99 per cent versus the 1 per cent."
It's ironic that a sequel made by a leading Hollywood studio (Warner Bros) would appear to have been partly inspired by the Occupy movement.
Horrible Bosses 2 has been criticised by some reviewers for being racist and misogynistic. Sudeikis contends it personifies a heightened version of reality: "Each boss personifies a different element, whether we're being put on our heels due to a woman's frank sexuality or Jamie Foxx's character and the way he deals with race ... Christoph challenges us on class, status and wealth, Spacey challenges our masculinity."
Next, Sudeikis is moving into more dramatic territory playing Larry Snyder, the coach of Jesse Owens, in Race. " ... there's an argument to be made that I'm not very funny to begin with so some people may think I've been doing drama the whole time!"
He can say that line, secure in the knowledge that everybody in Hollywood will get the joke.