Melissa McCarthy can be, at times, one of the funniest women in Hollywood. Her role in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids introduced her to a wide audience and she has been on a box office roll ever since, starring in two slapstick comedies per year. Half of these movies are actually half decent. Yet, her comedic descent started in 2014 with Tammy, a movie she wrote and her husband directed.
Now, we have The Boss. A movie which McCarthy cowrote with her husband, who also directs.
McCarthy stars as Michelle Darnell, a financial mogul and CEO that is half Nancy Grace and half Montgomery Burns. She lives a life of absolute luxury, but it all comes crashing down when she is arrested for a Martha Stewart-style insider trading scandal. After a short stay in a minimum security prison, she is compelled to crash at the home of her former assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell). With nothing to do all day and the urge to influence everyone around her, Michelle wages war on this movie’s equivalent of the girl scouts.
What works for this movie are the lesser known comedic actors. Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911) has a very short scene as the brown-nosing head of security for Michelle. Annie Mumulo (Joy, Bridesmaids) plays Michelle’s immediate rival among the girl scouts. The dedication she gives the role is probably more than the movie deserves. Also, Timothy Simons (Veep, Goosebumps) plays the assistant to Michelle’s rival. Each of these actors have very few scenes, but they steal every scene they’re in.
One reason I haven’t mentioned Kristen Bell is that she’s more of an afterthought in the movie. This is Melissa McCarthy’s movie through and through. McCarthy falls, swears and yells her way through all 99 minutes. McCarthy nailed the physical comedy of last year’s surprise hit, Spy. However, the pratfalls feel forced here. Anytime that Bell is reintroduced into the story, she serves as the sweet moral center and the movie goes from loud to bland.
The best moment between these two leads is actually the bra sizing scene from the trailers. It gives McCarthy a chance to lower her voice to a manageable volume and actually have sincere fun at Bell’s expense.
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) plays Michelle’s business rival. He is ripped right out of a Zoolander movie and doesn’t quite fit. However, it seems that he knows what kind of movie The Boss should be and he’s attempting to have as much fun as possible.
I’m a little confused at the R rating. It slightly overdoes it with the swears, but it feels forced. In making it R, I think McCarthy is missing out on a large audience, and banking on her past success (except Tammy) with R-rated comedy. This could have easily been PG-13 with any effort. To be honest, this movie could have been good with any type of effort and not resting on past laurels.
The intended audience for The Boss are those having a girls night out and hoping for some easy laughs. As for me, I chuckled twice. Minor smirking is not worth spending your time and money on The Boss. If you’re compelled to see this, wait for rental. Otherwise, feel free to skip The Boss. C-