Movie Review: ‘The Boss’

Director: Ben Falcone

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell

Plot: A wealthy, famous CEO loses her position and public standing and has to rebuild her empire.

Review: Here is a movie that very few people have put an effort into. We begin with young Michelle Darnell being returned to the orphanage by different families over the years because…well, they never explain why. We immediately skip forward a few decades where the adult Darnell (McCarthy) is a celebrity CEO who puts on seminars that resemble hip hop shows. She got to this point in her life by…actually, they don’t explain that either. Why she’s successful, what she is successful at and what unique talents she has is not explained, nor is the connection to her rejected childhood gone into.

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Instead of then establishing the character and giving us a reason to be invested in her story they set her up as an intensely unlikable person, putting down her assistant (the immensely more talented Bell) before being arrested and immediately released from jail. She barges in on her assistant’s life and begins setting up a mock-Girl Guide’s that sell brownies for profit in competition with another group doing the same for charity. On her journey of self-discovery where she learns about family we also see her beat up children.

So we have a slim story based on a completely unlikable character who’s turning point occurs with little to no motivation, learning to accept a substitute family. In the third act they’d run out of ideas so they finish with a heist and sword fight.

Movie extra turned director Ben Falcone replaced most of the dialogue in the script with ‘Melissa McCarthy ad-libs here’, with the running joke being someone swearing. Almost every scene fizzles out as the actors seemingly wait to see if McCarthy is going to add anything else or get on with the ‘being clumsy’ punchline that she resorts to again and again. For someone who has worked as an extra and bit part actor Falcone is unaware of the need to direct the actors filling up the screen. There’s one scene where McCarthy hilariously jokes about a child becoming a lesbian and it’s impossible to tell if the child is responding with laughter or crying. Like the director shouted ‘respond to that!’ and went with the first take. For the most part the extras and small parts do literally nothing – observe as McCarthy flops about a restaurant yelling and groaning without a single person turning to see what’s going on.

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As the rest of the cast, they’re forgettable. Mostly because they turn up at the beginning of the film, disappear for an hour then return for the final act. Peter Dinklage – rapidly becoming a warning flag for comedy films – is wasted as the villain and Bell’s love interest is a complete non-character.

If you want to see a comedy, go an see Zootopia. That movie’s great for every mood.

Rating: TWO out of TEN