#REVIEW: “THE BOSS”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) bounced in and out of foster homes before becoming one of Chicago’s premier industry moguls. But her world collapses after she is arrested for insider trading, loses all of her possessions and is forced to reluctantly live with her former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) and her daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson). But one batch of brownies and some late night thinking may be just enough to send Michelle back to the top.
The Boss is inherently silly in nature and design, but it thankfully never takes itself nearly as seriously as Tammy did two summers ago (her last pairing with co-writer/director/husband Ben Falcone). Yes it misses out on some easy satirical fodder, and it downgrades crucial subplots with gleeful abandon. But The Boss still manages to be very funny throughout. A number of these laughs are ruined by the Film’s trailers, but that does not take away from any of the jokes – it just makes the little asides and quieter moments that much funnier. The filmmakers even drop in an all-out street rumble that is reminiscent of the ludicrous fights from the Anchorman series to hilarious effect.
If the Film really stumbles anywhere, it is because it underutilizes the majority of the supporting cast. This is the Melissa McCarthy show through and through, but unlike last year’s Spy, there are very few moments for the supporting players to shine. Kathy Bates is a glorified plot device that could easily be removed. Cecily Strong and Kristen Schaal are basically reduced to background figures. Peter Dinklage has a blast hamming it up and playing a character that is beyond the polar opposite of his Emmy-winning role on Game of Thrones, but he is never once believable as the villain. Tyler Labine (as Bell’s love interest?!) and Annie Mumolo (the Oscar-winning co-writer of Bridesmaids) are the only supporting actors that really get any time to shine, stealing scenes and laughs from everyone on-screen. Sadly, it comes at the expense of neither of their characters developing whatsoever.
But the lead roles are where the Film excels. McCarthy’s character is another larger than life, obnoxious archetype, but she has a lot of fun in the role. While I wish she had the opportunity to show more than a hint of the range we know she is capable of, but even her all-too-common routine of falling and swearing her face off seems to be funnier than usual. But the real star of the show is Bell, who is consistently great from beginning to end. She remains straight-faced for so long that when she does let loose, it is practically flabbergasting. We know she is capable of comedy from her past endeavours, but she really delivers as the comedic foil for McCarthy. She helps keep the Film grounded in her genuinely lived-in performance, and she gets more laughs than expected.
The Boss is far from perfect, but it delivers some genuine laughs and plenty of hilarious moments. What it lacks in character development and underused subplots, it makes up for in a great performance from Bell and another hysterical performance from McCarthy. If you are a fan, you will not be disappointed.
Universal Pictures Canada release THE BOSS on Friday, April 8, 2016.