Her films may not exactly challenge the intellect, but I find Melissa McCarthy very funny. She displays an exuberance & fearlessness that never feels forced and her comic timing is impeccable. Unfortunately, those gifts are mostly wasted in The Boss, a surprising disappointment considering she created the title character herself.
That character is Michelle Darnell, an ambitious, narcissistic corporate monster who goes to prison for insider trading. Broke and homeless when finally released, she insinuates herself on her former assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), who's living in a small apartment with her daughter, Rachel. Of course, Darnell remains an egocentric pain in the ass as she finds a way to reclaim the empire she lost by using her unscrupulous business tactics to turn Kristen’s homemade brownies into a brand name sold by Rachel’s scout group. Her corporate rival/former lover, Renault (Peter Dinklage), still seething from being screwed-over by Darnell, does what he can to keep that from happening.
|"You know...you were funnier in Spy."|
On paper, the premise has the potential to be an amusing film, especially since it’s co-written by McCarthy (along with her husband, director Ben Falcone), based on a character she created during her time in the sketch comedy group, The Groundlings. But as Saturday Night Live has proven time and again, what’s funny in small doses doesn’t always translate too well into a feature-length film. McCarthy’s obvious dedication to the role is admirable, but Darnell is a phenomenally obnoxious person to spend 99 minutes with, despite efforts late in the film to humanize her by shoehorning sentimental moments of epiphany into the story. It doesn’t jibe with over-the-top scenes of Darnell leading a violent street war against a rival scout group, or the - WTF - Samurai sword fight in the climax.
In the past, McCarthy has demonstrated a gift for rendering potential caricatures into reasonably well-rounded characters while still generating a lot of laughs (as in The Heat and Spy). That’s not the case here. The Boss is, ironically, a crushing disappointment considering the entire film is based on a character she herself created.
Featurettes: "Everybody Loves Kristen Bell"; "Peter Dinklage Gets to the Point"; "Origin Story" (McCarthy's Darnell character, as original created onstage when she was part of the Groundlings improv group)
"Michelle Darnell - Original Sketch" (one of McCarthy’s improv sketches in its entirety, and much funnier than the movie itself)
Unrated & R-rated Versions
Digital & DVD Copy