Film Review: “The Boss”

Photo Courtesy of AceShowBiz
Photo Courtesy of AceShowBiz

Rating: D+
Directed by: Ben Falcone
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Rated: R

With poor character development, a vaguely developed plot, and crass humor all around, “The Boss” takes a moderately interesting concept and runs it into the ground. Its efforts to be simultaneously humorous and redemptive fall flat, leaving viewers unsure of what to make of the movie, and its few efforts at character development are poor at best.

In one of its only attempts at characterization, the movie opens to a scene of a young Michelle Darnell, rejected from foster home after foster home. The camera quickly cuts to a rich and successful adult Michelle preaching to devotees of big business, telling them that “people pull you down” in what’s sadly the only insight into her background. This successful image is short lived, however, as Michelle’s nemesis Renault turns her in for insider trading. Upon her release, a now-penniless Michelle is forced to crash on her former assistant’s couch, all the while figuring out how to get back on her feet. Her solution? Selling brownies in a slightly altered version of the Girl Scouts, the Darnell Darlings. While facing off against the rival Dandelions, Michelle begins to get close to her assistant, Claire, and her daughter. But, too afraid to get close to them, Michelle sells the company to Renault. After a change of heart, Michelle, Claire and Claire’s boyfriend steal the contract from Renault in an overexaggerated sword fight, saving the company.

While “The Boss” makes some attempts to give Michelle realistic characteristics, citing her relationship with her former mentor and her troubled past, she ultimately comes off as a ruthless businesswoman with little sense of professionalism. Though vaguely entertaining at first, the character quickly grows old, and her jokes and character are largely based on dick jokes and inappropriate behavior. Other characters in the film aren’t much better: Claire alternates between goody-two-shoes mother and nagging business partner in a tired, unexciting cycle, and Peter Dinklage’s character Renault is almost Zoolander-esque in absurdity, and sports a haircut that would put Tyrion Lannister to shame.

Though crass and lacking plot, the film would have been redeemed if it were simply funnier. The movie’s attempts at slapstick humor often fall flat: relying on throwing Melissa McCarthy into the wall and falling down stairs in an attempt to elicit some laughter. In a particularly strange scene, the Darnell Darlings and the Dandelions face off in a street fight, beating each other to pulp over cookie-selling rights. The few moderately funny moments of the movie are more “lol” than “haha,” eliciting small chuckles rather than genuine laughs, leaving viewers wondering why they’ve spent an hour and 39 minutes watching a film that isn’t even that funny. Aiming for crude hilarity, “The Boss” falls far short of this goal, and is too shallow to be salvageable.

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  • G

    G. HarrisonFeb 6, 2024 at 10:42 pm

    ⚠️What the friggin flipping heck⚠️?

    This film was a % absolute perfectly made totally hysterical riot, with several levels of genuinely outstanding performances of solid, fun characters, by a terrific cast, direction, action, & all around high end great effort

    -G. Harrison, LA, CA
    (30 + years professional film production, ’90 BFA w/honors Syracuse University)

    Reply