The Boss Review
I like Melissa McCarthy. She made me laugh out loud in "Bridesmaids" and when I saw her in that movie, I figured she would be a promise of great things to come. I thought she'd be some form of a female Zack Galifianakis. But much like Galifiankais, most of the characters McCarthy plays are the exact same. These weird, socially-inept people who fall down a lot and have a crude sex pun in literally every situation. That has become the extent of talent. One could argue that people like Seth Rogen and Micheal Cera play the same people every movie, and that would be a fair assessment. But at least Cera and especially Rogen can be funny a lot more often. With all of that said, McCarthy is still able to pull out a hidden treasure like "Spy" last year. She's one of those actresses where, if used correctly, could feel like a new sensation with every movie.
Sadly, I mostly felt "The Boss" just a standard Melissa McCarthy movie. Sure, her character isn't quite as strange as we are used to seeing. But she still falls down a lot and she still has some oddball sexual pun she seemingly pulls out of her ass. In "The Boss," McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, a CEO of her own company who has always put business first. She's this snarky female-Donald Trump (although a lot less racist, sexist and ageist) who will do whatever to make the American dollar. She's been successful, and she has become one of the wealthiest women in the world. She has had the help of her assistant Claire (Kristen Bell), a single mom who wants to rise within Darnell's company, but is treated like a typical assistant we see in these kinds of movies. One day, Darnell is busted for insider trading and spends some time in federal prison.
Once out of prison, she is hit hard by the real world of not living rich. She has no home, no company and no morale. Seeing no other option, she asks if she can crash at Claire's home until she can get back on her feet. She's not used to living in a small apartment with all the pleasantries she is used to as a billionaire, but Claire and her daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson) try to make it work with her. Michelle is trying hard to get back into the game, but its hard due to Michelle's long-time corporate rival Ronald (Peter Dinklage). One day, she attends a girl scout meeting with Rachel the same day she tries one of Claire's delicious brownies, and she finally sees a way back into the big time. She is going to create a brownie empire with Claire, and uses some of the profit to create a college fund for Rachel and her fellow scouts.
So how good is Melissa McCarthy? She's fine, in a McCarthy kind of way. While I will admit that the movie made me laugh at some parts, it didn't make my stomach hurt with laughter the way I hoped it would. There are various forms of comedy in the film, but I think it seldom sticks. This is the same schlock we are used to seeing from McCarthy, the problem though is that for me, its starting to get old. We know McCarthy is capable of better, we know she can be really funny for an entire movie. So why make stuff like this?
I have seen Kristen Bell in a lot of movies over the years, and honestly I never get much from her. Such is the case with "The Boss." Most of the time she just comes off as a blank who is saying lines into the camera, and that shows big time here. If she didn't have McCarthy to bounce off of, she wouldn't be much of a presence at all. The role of Claire is a role that any actress could do, so I was hoping Bell would find a way to make the character stand out. Instead, she just goes through the motions.
I will say the film's highest saving grace is of course, Peter Dinklage. The guy is amazing, and I find myself baffled that the same actor is playing Tyrion Lannister on "Game of Thrones." They are completely different style of character, through and through, and it shows that Dinklage is a true talent. Dinklage sells the awkward and strange demeanor needed for his character. He sees the dry humor in his character and embraces it. There is a great scene at the end of the movie where Dinklage pulls out a samurai sword, and its just such a great scene because Peter throws himself into the role. If you need any reason to pay money for this, he would be it.
"The Boss" is, simply put, not that funny. Its just an ordinary script that tries to be more, tries to do more, but ends up failing overall. There are some good things in it, and McCarthy is certainly involved in some of those things. But they never add up. But we know they could have added up, there is a great comic performer hidden somewhere in McCarthy's wheelhouse, and I wish she'd let that performer out to play more often.
FINAL GRADE: C+