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The Boss

Coming Soon

Before you go to the movies, you generally look at reviews of stuff you’re interested in and ask yourself, is this how I want to spend a few hours of my down time?
If The Boss is one of your choices, the answer is “no”, or “no baby, now come in off the ledge.”
If you’ve seen Troop Beverly Hills, you’ve seen a funnier version of this plot with less swearing and a lot less fisticuffs.  Melissa McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, a self-help mogul who’s made stupid money and stupider enemies. When rival and former lover, Ronald/Renault (Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones) – see it’s funny because it’s pretentious – drops the dime on her for insider trading, she’s sent to a federal prison people who’ve never seen a federal prison believe exist. The world shattering revelation that bad things have consequences crushes her world for about 30 seconds, but this overbearing loudmouth resolves to rebuild her empire and succeed the only way she can – by being loud and overbearing.
She imposes on her former assistant portrayed by Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Frozen), picking up as if only three minutes have passed, and together they spend the rest of the movie learning nothing. Behind every successful tyrant, there is a personal assistant who will never learn to say no. Congratulations on your new title of Executive Doormat!
In lieu of dialogue there is a ton of profanity because someone thought it was funny (it’s not) and believed swearing neatly ends a scene and forwards the plot (it doesn’t). Everyone not Michelle Darnell is awkward, from Peter Dinklage, who’s probably paying off a bet, to Kathy Bates (American Horror Story, Dolores Claiborne) in a wasted cameo riding off on a horse. You desperately want her to take you with her.
I know comedies highlight and exaggerate the world around us (much like the makeup person did with McCarthy’s eyes and Bates’ hair) so we can see the absurdities in everyday things, but The Boss leaves behind any pretense of reality hoping you won’t notice the forced performances and over-reliance on crude and crass humor. There’s an utterly pointless and rather violent fight scene between rival girl-power organizations, the Dandelions and Darnell’s Darlings played by Ella Anderson (The Possession of Michael King, Henry Danger) and newcomers Eva Peterson and Presley Coley making their Hollywood debut. It ends with lots of things on fire and a surprising lack of assault charges. Frankly, unless the title card says, “Battle Royale” I generally don’t want to see kids clothes-lining each other.
Maybe that’s why I left the theater not really liking this movie. If you believe strong comedic elements are saying f*ck a lot and random violence, then this movie will be the highlight of your weekend. For the rest of us not intellectually stunted at 8-years old,  let’s be honest – the screenplay is beyond clunky, the scenes are ham-fisted vignettes designed to string together a story that feels forced and tired, and there’s a romance (sorry, Tyler Labine of Tucker and Dale vs Evil fame) which felt like an arranged marriage between people who will eventually spend a lot of time drinking to excess and having risky sex with homeless people.
This movie should have been more a “Nine to Five” for the 21st Century, and less whatever this is, and was written by people (Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy, Steve Mallory) who have an idea of what makes a “bad boss”-style movie hilarious, but decided to write this one instead. There’s probably supposed to be an Us vs Them theme running throughout The Boss, but Darnell’s biggest obstacle is her shallow and superficial attitude and her mouth. The only takeaway I can see is sh*tty people never change. Ever.
And that’s not funny at all.

The Boss is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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