Review: The Boss

Score: B

Director: Ben Falcone

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Tyler Labine

Running Time: 99 Minutes

Rated: R

There’s no denying that Melissa McCarthy is a comedic force of nature. Once the quirky sidekick on a low-rated but beloved dramedy (Gilmore Girls), she’s now arguably the funniest mainstream actress on the planet.

But the problem is she has to work with the right director to harness her talents. When she’s paired with Paul Feig, she’s unstoppable. Last year’s Spy ranks among the best comedies of the decade. But in something like Identity Thief, she’s just grating.

The Boss doesn’t hit those highs or lows. It’s right down the middle. And for its first two acts, it’s consistently funny, even if it’s not particularly original. But it’s last act is absurd in ways both good and bad, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense following what’s come before.

McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, one of the richest women in the world. When she’s busted for insider trading, she loses her entire empire and moves in with her long-suffering former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell, making the most out of a literally thankless role) and her daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson).

It’s not long until Michelle sees the opportunity to earn back her fortune: She’ll recruit Rachel to sell Claire’s fantastic brownies, poaching their talent from Rachel’s Girl Scout troop. Any scene in which Michelle tries to get the upperhand on the frosty Helen (Annie Mumolo), the mom of a scout, is comic gold. Their unrelenting viciousness provides the biggest laughs of the movie.

But things go off the rails when her business rival and ex-boyfriend Renault (Peter Dinklage) enters the picture. He’s determined to tear her down at every point, since he’s still reeling from the day Michelle broke up with him and beat him out for a crucial promotion.

This leads Michelle to do something nearly unforgivable, and the next scene – in which she begs for forgiveness – feels like weeks or months have passed, but apparently it’s only been a little over 36 hours. It screams of last-minute re-write, and while this adds a fun, heist-movie vibe, it feels like a completely different, sloppier movie than what’s come before.

Still, The Boss provides big laughs throughout and proves McCarthy won’t be slowing down any time soon.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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