Director: Ben Falcone
Writer: Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory, Steve Mallory
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Ella Anderson, Tyler Labine, Peter Dinklage, Timothy Simons, and Kathy Bates
Synopsis: A titan of industry is sent to prison after she’s caught insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
Melissa McCarthy comedies are usually hit-or-miss, and if you’re a fan of McCarthy’s comedies then you’ll most likely enjoy The Boss. If you’re not a fan, then The Boss may not be for you. However, The Boss does have some really funny moments that should make anyone laugh. Unfortunately, the film could get lost in the shuffle of other recent R-rated films.
McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, a hard-headed and blunt-talker business mogul who loses everything when she’s convicted of insider trading. When she gets out and realizes she had nothing she goes to her former assistant and single mother, Claire (Bell), for help. When there, she takes Claire’s daughter, Rachel (Anderson) to her Dandelions (a Girl Scouts like organization) meeting and see an opportunity to get back in the business world. The selling point is that Claire can bake amazing brownies. Michelle then takes it upon herself to convince Claire to start a business selling brownies.
When The Boss works, it really works. McCarthy looks to be having a ton of fun playing the foul-mouthed former business titan that has a knack for wearing turtlenecks. They try to bring some levity to Michelle and try to get us deeper into what makes her character tick, but the idea is a bit underdeveloped and never fully fleshed out the way it probably should have been for it to work more than it did. However, the comedy does work because of McCarthy, her timing and delivery are perfect and how she was able to pull off some of those rifts were great to watch.
Saying that though, not all the comedy works. Like all comedies, not every joke is going to land and be funny. One of the things that The Boss does that hinder it – comedy wise – besides some jokes not landing, is that some of the running jokes overstay their welcome, and sometimes it’s only by a few seconds. It’s almost like director Ben Falcone told the cast to just keep going until he yelled cut. Unlike most rated-R comedies lately, The Boss never really crosses any lines and plays it safe, but isn’t really an insult or a negative toward the movie, some jokes are border-lined, but it never crosses the line like you think a movie like this would.
The rest of the cast don’t really get a chance to shine, with the possible exception of Kristen Bell’s Claire. She gets the second most screen time and handles herself against McCarthy. Peter Dinklage plays Michelle’s former lover and turned rival Renault, who hams it up a bit with Timothy Simons’ Stephan as his assistant, Ella Anderson’s Rachel gets a one big moment to shine, but she comes in and out of the film and Tyler Labine’s Mike who has a thing for Claire shines the most at the end of the film. A standout, in terms of her short screen time is Eva Peterson’s Chrystal aka Giant. Criminally underused is Kathy Bates, who plays Michelle’s mentor in a cameo role really, but it would have been nice to see more of Bates, since they were able to get her in the film at all.
All in all, The Boss has some great comedy moments and Melissa McCarthy carries the film on her shoulders. While the movie may not be one of the best R-rated comedies out there, it’s certainly not the worst and if you give it the chance, you’ll be laughing with the rest of the crowd.
3.5 out of 5