Director: Ben Falcone
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Ella Anderson, Kathy Bates, Tyler Labine, Cecily Strong
Written by: Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, and Steve Mallory
Running Time: 99 mins
Release date: 10th June 2016
I think I have said this before but I think Melissa McCarthy is a very funny lady. She understands delivery of a gag, how to react to a comment and how to take a pratfall. Yet her film career hasn’t always complimented her talents. I approach each of her films with high hopes that this will be the one that will catapult her to comedy greatness, yet I am often disappointed. So the hopes were high for her latest effort, The Boss. Once again it was a crashing disappointment.
Michelle Darnell is a giant in the world of business. With a huge money empire behind her and a series of inspirational tours that are more like a rock concert, she is a conceited monster out to make as much money as possible. Yet it all comes crashing down around her when she is imprisoned for insider trading. After being released from jail, having lost everything, she turns to her former PA, Claire for shelter, moving in with her and her daughter, Rachel. While taking Rachel to her guides meeting, Michelle discovers a new way of making money: selling Claire’s brownies, sparking her business bite once again, as well as her ruthless attitude.
Directed, co-produced and co-written by her husband, Ben Falcone, this is a vanity project for McCarthy, as she shares writing and producing hats. Playing another foul-mouthed, strong-willed woman (thankfully she from the richer side of town than her previous solo projects) she does what McCarthy does: she delivers punchy one-liners, has a pit bull attitude and falls down a lot. Yet while this works in films like Spy, where the director holds the reins, here it seems her husband just lets her do her own thing and that’s when the problems seem to lie, as with their previous effort, Tammy. The jokes run very thin.
What also seems to be problematic is the plotting. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of weight here. It starts off with plenty of promise, as Michelle arrives on a phoenix in a spectacular stage production you’d expect more from Taylor Swift than a wealthy businesswoman giving her advice on how to be rich. Yet when she is released from prison, it heads down more safe, conventional roads as Michelle has to share her life with the homely single mother, Claire and her daughter, something that Michelle hasn’t experienced before and struggles with.
There are moments which make you smile but never make you laugh out loud. It trundles along with the usual gleeful manner you’d expect from lightweight comedies, where the cast are obviously allowed to ad-lib and improvise, but only managing to deliver a barrel of F-bombs.Yet it is the supporting cast who all manage to come out better than it’s leading lady.
Kristen Bell as Claire, is a perfect foil to McCarthy’s bombastic boss woman, just managing to stand strong with some nicely placed delivered line. Peter Dinklage, with this year’s best hairstyle, steals every scene he is in as Michelle’s former lover who has become a business magnet with some very quirky attitudes and living in a fantasy land of samurais. While McCarthy is amusing, it comes in fits and starts and you just feel she can do so much better.
The Boss is fluff. It’s almost forgettable once you’d watched it. It lacks anything original or remotely memorable and it just brushes over you without making much of a dent. It has done surprisingly well in the States. Not sure the same will happen over here. I just hope that McCarthy’s next screen appearance, in the reboot of Ghostbusters, will show her in a better light. Limp and lacking.