Like a Bore: Our Review of ‘The Boss’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - April 08, 2016
Like a Bore: Our Review of ‘The Boss’

Maybe Melissa McCarthy isn’t funny. At least when left to her and her husband’s own devices.

That’s what your left with after watching The Boss because for the second time the two have team up to make a movie, the results are awkward and muddled, only occassionally reaching middling levels of funny. Ben Falcone directs, McCarthy stars, and the two write and produce what is nominally a comedy that has plenty of extra, boring padding to prod it along to the 90-minute mark.

She has certainly charmed and entertained before, and even here, she has flashes of greatness. Her delivery is perfect, and McCarthy continually has a knack for making the vulgar and blunt hysterical; the physical comedy is fine too if entirely redundant.

But with The Boss, those humourous moments are few and far between, littered across a meandering story lacking in any substance or the least of emotional interest.

McCarthy is Michelle Darnell, a capitalist tycoon who achieved fame and riches by doing whatever it took to get ahead, spurred by a childhood living in an orphanage.  Darnell declares in what is a particularly awkward opening with the rapper T Pain (she raps, and it’s weird) that she is the 47th richest woman in America, which doesn’t actually seem like a lot. Not the movie has anything political or substantive to say – this isn’t about the rich versus the poor, the scammers versus the scammed, and certainly not about gender. This is as superficial and general as it gets.theboss2

Michelle loves attention, doesn’t really care too much about her assistant Claire (Kristin Bell), and is the utmost cocky when besting her nemesis and former lover Renault (Peter Dinklage).

Of course she soon quickly falls from grace, is forced to endure four months as a prison that looks more like a country club (it’s white collar crime!), and then looks to rebuild her empire by crashing on Claire’s couch and selling girl scout cookies. Again, what this movie is in fact is less clear than what it isn’t, and it sure isn’t about redemption or changing one’s ways.

The Boss looks for laughs all over the place, finding the best ones when Michelle confronts an overinvested mom, and teaches Claire how to wear a bra. It fails to find any during a street melee between Michelle’s militant scouts and the more pristine Dandelions, from which she poached members and mocked mercilessly. Apparently Claire, as a single mother, needs a love interest too, so the schlub in the nearby cubicle will do.

It is aimless antagonism that makes up the bulk of The Boss, F-bombs and attacks on looks that are gutturally funny, but fleeting, leaving you momentarily amused with lingering guilt. Not that’s it’s particularly offensive, just boring. What’s unclear is the point of everything: all the actors are having their talent wasted, their characters made to be somehow incomplete without the presence of Michelle, who strains to be a likeable protagonist.

After all, she’s inconsiderate and a cheat, and changes in her mood only serve to move along a plot that culminates in a heist and a swordfight. Why? Because why not I suppose.

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