The Boss Plot Summary:
After an eccentric business mogul (Melissa McCarthy) loses everything following her incarceration, she crashes with her former executive assistant (Kristen Bell), a single mother. Inspired by a Girl Scout meeting, not only does Michelle conjure up a new business plan, but she begins to finally be part of a family.
Aside from that Tammy debacle a couple years ago, Melissa McCarthy has definitely been on a comedic roll. She made comedy look easy in last year’s surprise hit, Spy. The Boss seems like a slam dunk premise. A loud mouth, ruthless entrepreneur gets humbled, and her way back to the top is turning a girl scout troop into a lucrative business venture. As it turns out, The Boss does indeed deliver – for half a movie. This is another reminder of what makes comedy hard – sustained laughs. I was really enjoying this for forty-five minutes. It wasn’t a comedic classic by any means, but it allowed Melissa McCarthy to do what she does best, which is throw hilarious insults at complete and utter jackasses. For whatever reason, the second half takes a bad slide, and it just got progressively worse from there. The Boss is the epitome of an uneven film, so let’s get into it.
The set up is efficient as hell. We get a reason to emotionally connect with the character. We instantly get a sense of who Michelle Darnell is, which is basically a female Tony Stark. She gets too cocky, goes to jail, and is forced to bring herself up again. It couldn’t be simpler. McCarthy is on cruise control, and much like in Spy, very little of what she says misses the mark. It’s another great mix of physical and dialogue driven comedy. Her relationship with the level-headed Kristen Bell also works extraordinarily well. Bell plays Claire, who’s certainly burdened by dealing this crazy person, but is also equipped to handle it. And of course, the two rub off on each other. Michelle’s relationship with Claire’s daughter, played by Ella Anderson, also brings funny, and lighthearted moments. The cast is littered with great supporting characters, including a weird Peter Dinklage performance, an over bearing rival mom (Annie Mumolo) for Michelle, and a likable romantic interest (Tyler Labine) for Claire. The first half is solid laughs, never getting heavy handed.
Then we come to the second half where we get a Hancock moment. If you remember the 2008 Will Smith film Hancock, you can actually pin point the exact moment where the film goes to hell. We get that here with The Boss. A big part of Michelle’s character was never having a family, so her big character flaw is of course family being a weakness. There comes a point in the movie where they dwell on this for twenty minutes, and it just becomes a hackneyed dramedy. The film was doing a great job of staying silly, and balancing the family issues in a subtle way, but now it’s not even funny anymore. The second half of the film is simply boring.
That’s not the worst part. The third act goes full dumb. We go from solid comedy to boring dramedy to all out stupidity. The last fifteen minutes is an absolute disaster, almost becoming a horrible action comedy. The film is just short of 100 minutes, and it’s almost like they ran out of ideas to finish the movie, so they shoehorned a fight climax. It made the film feel longer, and you could feel the crowd’s disinterest. Even characters you were enjoying become totally unlikable by the end.
I’d recommend this for VOD, because the first half is very enjoyable. For whatever reason, the movie completely goes off the rails. Melissa McCarthy continues to prove if given good material, she can execute it with the best of them. Let’s hope it’s there for Ghostbusters.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10 (Slightly Better Than ‘Meh’)
Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.