I saw The Boss because my Mum dragged me to see it. The last time she did this we saw Spy, which I ended up loving, so I went in with marginally higher hopes than usual. Unfortunately, whilst Melissa McCarthy was a firecracker, The Boss fizzled out. (I’m so sorry for that sentence.)
Melissa McCarthy stars as Michelle Darnell, an ultra-successful business woman, who worked her way from nothing to become The Boss. After her scorned ex-lover/competitor Renault/Ronald (Peter Dinklage), reports her for insider trading she gets kicked into prison for 5 months. Down on luck and cash, Darnell bullies her long-suffering ex-executive assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), into letting her stay with Claire and Claire’s daughter, Rachel. Because I can’t be bothered to get into all the ins and outs of this movie, the bottom line is – Darnell grows close to Claire and Rachel, but freaks out due to abandonment issues stemming from her childhood (where else?). She kind of betrays them, and then some other silly things happen.
As you can tell from my half-assed plot overview, I felt that The Boss was lack luster. Here’s the breakdown: I liked the character of Michelle Darnell but the actual movie itself was just boring. I assumed that this movie would be McCarthy’s version of Horrible Bosses, but halfway through, I realised I was watching a movie about Girl Scout wars. That’s not something I find particularly interesting. And that’s why I didn’t like this movie very much. It was such a waste. The character and the cast weren’t “pushed” enough. To be fair, I did still laugh a few times, but that was purely because McCarthy is hilarious and I love her.
Sadly, McCarthy’s raw talent wasn’t enough to carry this movie. And neither was Kristen Bell’s, Peter Dinklage’s, or any amount of great cameos (including Kathy Bates, Kristen Schaal and character actress Margo Martindale). Bell was roped into being the straight (wo)man, except it was so much worse because she actually just dull. Dinklage’s character was just kind of weird, but not really funny. And no amount of sexually charged scenes with McCarthy could make it okay. The rest of it just fell into this well-meaning mess.
The reason I gave up on writing the plot summary was because I realised this movie was all over the place. I’m just going to list some of the plot points to give you, dear readers, an idea: life as an orphan, cult of personality, frozen assets, betraying a lot of people, the rise of a new business, Girl Scout fight scene, romantic subplot, betraying more people, burglary, another fight scene… I’ve given up again. But that covers most of it. The Boss was written by McCarthy, Ben Falcone (her husband) and someone called Steve Mallory. The subplots stretched far and wide, but none of the movie ever actually struck me as interesting or really worth watching.
Other little niggling things that I noticed throughout the movie were surprisingly about the cinematography. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it kind of felt like an action movie that was shot as though it was that horrible looking Mother’s Day movie. I didn’t expect it to be stylised or anything, but I think it felt out of place compared to Darnell’s larger than life character. In addition to this, the framing of some shots bothered me. Every single scene with Michelle Darnell managed to have most of her ridiculous hair in it, but in others featuring minor characters they couldn’t manage to frame the shot without cutting off someone’s forehead. I don’t think I should be noticing this in what should be a straightforward shoot.
Let’s be real – I don’t expect every movie to be a masterpiece, but I know that McCarthy is better than this. The Boss allowed its promising cast to be overshadowed by its tedious and convoluted plot. McCarthy can do a lot, but she couldn’t whip this film into shape.
The Boss (2016): 5/10