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Review: The Boss

The Boss
04.06.2016
4 10

The Boss Melissa McCarthy Kristen Bell Ben Falcone review

PLOT: A famous media mogul is arrested for insider trading, her reputation and empire ruined. Years later, she comes crawling to her former assistant for help, and in the process ends up creating a new, albeit smaller, business that could end up being financially advantageous for them both.

REVIEW: When it comes to Melissa McCarthy's less than exquisite filmography, THE BOSS isn't the worst of the bunch. That's a short and uncomplicated assessment, sure, but it's what stuck in my brain after I left the theater. This is my third McCarthy review, if I'm not mistaken, and the first two - IDENTITY THIEF and TAMMY - were hard to stomach, partially because the characters McCarthy was playing were frantic, oafish fools, and I didn't like watching them. McCarthy, who I still keep wanting to appreciate, frequently seems desperate for laughs, so much so that she'll give herself nothing but low-brow pratfalls and questionable antics in lieu of witty material. I still can't fathom why this actress, who is in a position to do close to whatever she wants as an A-lister, keeps aiming for the lowest common denominator, but I guess she's comfortable in her niche and intends to stay there.

So THE BOSS is better than IDENTITY THIEF and TAMMY, but not quite as amusing as last year's SPY (which I did not review, but generally liked). It was co-written by McCarty and directed by Ben Falcone, her husband, so in essence it's their follow-up to TAMMY, a movie that baffled me because the two seemingly went so far out of their way to make McCarthy look ridiculous and unappealing. THE BOSS does the opposite, in a sense; it pretties McCarthy up as a haughty self-made millionaire, and while she still finds plenty of opportunities to throw herself down stairs or do something unappetizing, McCarthy has shown up with a more-or-less agreeable character, one that's sometimes fun to watch and even says or does a few nominally funny things.

The Boss Melissa McCarthy Kristen Bell Ben Falcone review

McCarthy's Michelle Darnell had a rough beginning to her life, growing up an orphan but having trouble locking down a family because of her uncivil behavior. Cut to years later and Michelle's a mogul, the queen of her own empire of self-help finance books and public speaking tours. Michelle has built her company off the backs of former mentors like Ida Marquette (Kathy Bates) and Renault (Peter Dinklage) - who now hate her guts - and coasts along using insider trading to bolster her fabulous lifestyle. Her loyal assistant is Claire (Kristen Bell), sort of a Bob Cratchit figure; a single mom who does practically everything for Michelle, her requests for raises are rebuffed and her overall well-being not much concern for Michelle. But when the latter gets caught for insider trading - courtesy of her now-rival Renault, who seeks to ruin her - Michelle is sent to prison and her entire fortune seized.

Years later, Michelle is released from the (very comfy) slammer and suddenly finds herself in need of charity. She, of course, ends up on Claire's doorstep and despite her former assistant's misgivings, is allowed to stay on the couch while she finds her feet. A bond is quickly formed between Michelle - who's lost none of her attitude - and Claire's precocious daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson), and soon enough Michelle is nosing her way into the kid's Girl Scout cookie enterprise and scheming how to make money off it. It's a good thing Claire is a wiz at baking and has her own family recipe, because now Michelle can rebuild her fortune.

Along the way Michelle learns the value of friendship and family and yadda yadda. The script is nothing if not paint-by-the-numbers, following beats you could have guessed just from the trailer (or from knowing how movies like this work). What's frustrating about THE BOSS is that, in the early going, it wants to paint Michelle as something of a tyrant who deserves our scorn, but at the same time, McCarthy and Falcone can't bear to have us actually dislike the character. If the movie had teeth it would have made her genuinely despicable, and then her redemption toward the end could have been earned. As it is, Michelle is just another goofy caricature from the start, and her supposed transformation is negligible. It's not surprising that the husband-wife duo would play it safe, but since the movie is R-rated and McCarthy is still at the top of her game (according to paying audiences, anyway), it would have been interesting to see them take a chance and make Michelle more complicated and give their narrative some real edge. But the movie is as soft as the brownies the characters begin baking for profit.

The Boss Melissa McCarthy Kristen Bell Ben Falcone review

There are a few laughs to be had; I'll admit I chuckled here and there, although right now nothing sticks out. (There's an ANCHORMAN-esque battle between two factions of Girl Scouts that's kind of humorous in an outlandish way.) The film sometimes suffers from that brand of comedy Judd Apatow has popularized, where two actors, clearly ad-libbing, go on and on while the director refuses to say cut. More often than not this grows tiresome, but THE BOSS has a good cast that knows how to sell a gag. I maintain that McCarthy is talented, she's just hasn't fully proven it to me; she has timing and nerve, but she's not yet created a person I truly care about and Michelle is no exception. Dinklage, slumming it (but not as badly as in PIXELS), is droll and weird and fun to watch even if Renault could have been an even bigger scene-stealer. (He's obsessed with samurais for no other reason than so the movie can get a katana in his hands at one point.) Bell, too, is a likable presence, though she's hardly given anything actually interesting to do. Tyler Labine, as Bell's love interest, is an unusual though welcome choice for that part. And Kathy Bates has one bit where she makes her feelings for McCarthy's character known on national television that definitely provoked a smile out of me.

But what is THE BOSS other than a predictable, routine studio comedy with a handful of effective jokes and more than enough lulls for you to hit the bathroom a few times? Not much.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
2:11AM on 04/07/2016
Zero interest in this. Only reason I saw Spy was because of how much the reviews surprised and that it ended up being pretty darn funny. But the trailer for this had me reacting much the same way most trailers for McCarthy films have me reacting: lots of groaning, a few chuckles here and there, and a whole lot more disinterest.
Zero interest in this. Only reason I saw Spy was because of how much the reviews surprised and that it ended up being pretty darn funny. But the trailer for this had me reacting much the same way most trailers for McCarthy films have me reacting: lots of groaning, a few chuckles here and there, and a whole lot more disinterest.
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9:25PM on 04/06/2016
Bridesmaids was great, and she was good in St. Vincent.
Bridesmaids was great, and she was good in St. Vincent.
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5:02PM on 04/06/2016
I loved her in Bridesmaids. However, that was the first time I'd seen her in anything. I then watched Identity Thief (I went for Bateman), and almost walked out. I hated her character so much and hated his too for that matter. Horrible movie. I didn't see Tammy as it looked dumb but I'd heard such good things about Spy that I did check it out and it was actually funny. Loved Rose Byrne in it too. I'm skipping Ghostbusters anyway, but I may check The Boss out.
I loved her in Bridesmaids. However, that was the first time I'd seen her in anything. I then watched Identity Thief (I went for Bateman), and almost walked out. I hated her character so much and hated his too for that matter. Horrible movie. I didn't see Tammy as it looked dumb but I'd heard such good things about Spy that I did check it out and it was actually funny. Loved Rose Byrne in it too. I'm skipping Ghostbusters anyway, but I may check The Boss out.
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4:09PM on 04/06/2016

Just wait for GHOSTBUSTERS

She'll prove you haters wrong LOL
She'll prove you haters wrong LOL
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7:20PM on 04/06/2016
Oh no. Nope. Nah. Uh-uh. Nurp. Nada. Naw. Yuh-uh. Ehh-ehhh. Noooo. Nizzope. Negative. Aww hell naw the devil is a lya get outta my friend ghost. No.
Oh no. Nope. Nah. Uh-uh. Nurp. Nada. Naw. Yuh-uh. Ehh-ehhh. Noooo. Nizzope. Negative. Aww hell naw the devil is a lya get outta my friend ghost. No.
2:56PM on 04/07/2016
I don't consider myself a hater. But I did hate Tammy, and unfortunately that was her and Falcone, and so is this. And both are funny people, but between Tammy being horrid and the tepid critical reception here... ugh.
I don't consider myself a hater. But I did hate Tammy, and unfortunately that was her and Falcone, and so is this. And both are funny people, but between Tammy being horrid and the tepid critical reception here... ugh.
+0
1:40PM on 04/06/2016
Spy was way better then it should have been. But she had a great cast around her too...
Spy was way better then it should have been. But she had a great cast around her too...
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1:21PM on 04/06/2016
I don't think I've ever laughed at a McCarthy role beyond an awkward groaning head-shake. There are so many really, really hilarious actors and comedians right now - I really think we're going through a terrific period for humor. She just, well, isn't very funny.
I don't think I've ever laughed at a McCarthy role beyond an awkward groaning head-shake. There are so many really, really hilarious actors and comedians right now - I really think we're going through a terrific period for humor. She just, well, isn't very funny.
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1:00PM on 04/06/2016
I think Melissa McCarthy is trying to be funny when she's actually not.
I think Melissa McCarthy is trying to be funny when she's actually not.
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12:40PM on 04/06/2016
I'm not actually surprised. This had the promise of being something kind of different, but Tammy was such a dreadful misfire, I couldn't expect great things from McCarthy and Falcone, and that's sad as I like both of them.
I'm not actually surprised. This had the promise of being something kind of different, but Tammy was such a dreadful misfire, I couldn't expect great things from McCarthy and Falcone, and that's sad as I like both of them.
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