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The Boss




The Boss (R)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

04/14/16
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



A businesslebrity tries to rebuild her life after an insider trading conviction in The Boss, a movie from Melissa McCarthy and her real-life husband Ben Falcone.
Falcone co-wrote and directed this movie, just like he did Tammy. I suspect “just like Tammy” will be a big part of many people’s thoughts on this uneven film.
Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) is a mega-star, mega-successful celebrity business person, somewhere on the scale between the Shark Tank guys and the dude running for president, who loses her empire when business rival/ex-boyfriend Renault (Peter Dinklage) turns her in for insider trading. After a few months in jail, Michelle and her fancy luggage emerge to find that nothing remains of her fortune or circle of friends. She heads to the home of former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) to collect her sad box of personal items. Michelle is so sad that Claire’s tweenage daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson) suggests that Michelle stay with them while she gets herself back on her feet. 
After an initial attempt at reconnecting with old colleagues goes south, Michelle spends a few weeks on the sofa until Claire asks her to take Rachel to her Daisy scouts meeting. There, Michelle learns about the enormous money made by the girls during their annual cookie sales and she decides that a troop of young, driven salespeople is her way back. She gets Claire to churn out batches of her brownies and forms, with Rachel, a new group called “Darnell’s Darlings.” With badges reminiscent of Soviet propaganda posters and menacing red berets, the group, comprised of the tougher, more aggressive girls of Rachel’s acquaintance, isn’t afraid of kicking some Daisy behind to dominate the neighborhood when it comes to door-to-door snack sales.
Oh, The Boss, I am so in the tank for you! How in the tank? So in the tank that I am having a hard time pointing out this movie’s flaws without countering the criticism with some praise. This movie feels like a collection of not terribly cohesive scenes BUT some of those scenes are pretty funny. A plotline about Michelle’s difficult childhood which has resulted in a “families are for suckers” attitude is very heavy-handed BUT McCarthy actually sells her character’s growth pretty well. Kristen Bell’s character isn’t very well filled in BUT she gets some good moments of goofiness and the chemistry with McCarthy is nice. See? I want to like it. I want to like it more than I actually liked it — which is a thing that tends to happen when McCarthy is part of something that flops. 
McCarthy is a fantastic comedic actor. See Spy, The Heat and Bridesmaids (all of those movies, by the way, are written by other people and directed by Paul Feig). I mean, seriously, if you haven’t seen those movies, see them now. All of them were not only enjoyable the first time I saw them but have become even better on rewatch. She is also great in a quieter, more dramatic way in St. Vincent and as quirky sidekick characters that still managed to be fully formed people on the TV shows Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who? (I’ve never seen Mike & Molly so I can’t comment there). 
The Boss is not one of these successes. It tracks closer to Tammy and Identity Thief, two less impressive entries on her IMDb page. But — of course, there’s a BUT — it’s not as bad as either of those. There are moments of this movie that are genuinely fun. There are moments that even have something sort of interesting to say about pre-teen girls and what might count as good training for their adult life. McCarthy has good chemistry with Bell and good chemistry with Dinklage (here going more weird than sexy, though with some notes of sexy — Dinklage, much like McCarthy, doesn’t always get credit for how much range he has). 
I get the sense that there is a solid comedy to be made from this movie’s elements BUT to get there The Boss would need some editing and another pass at the script. C+
Rated R for sexual content, language and brief drug use. Directed by Ben Falcone with a screenplay by Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory and Melissa McCarthy, The Boss is an hour and 39 minutes long and distributed by Universal Pictures.





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