Friday, June 23, 2017

Now on HBO: The Boss (2016)

The Boss (2016) - Directed by Ben Falcone; Written by Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory; Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Ella Anderson, Tyler Labine, Kathy Bates, Cecily Strong, Mary Sohn, Kristen Schaal, Timothy Simons, Annie Mumolo, Dax Shepard, Ben Falcone, Margo Martindale.

By Kenny Howell

A few weeks ago I wrote a review of the Will Ferrell vehicle Daddy's Home where I mentioned that I will watch anything with him because even if it is bad, there will be at least one moment that is pure comic genius that you will remember, even if you want to forget everything else.

I feel the same way about Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters). She has made some pretty good stuff, but some of it has been very bad, and The Boss tends to go in that direction, but she lifts it with her terrific ability to sell a joke whether it be with physical comedy or a great improvised rant about whatever is carrying the scene.

In The Boss she plays a business mogul named Michelle Darnell, who has built a career that adores her to people all over the U.S. However, she is also super shady, and she is busted for insider trading and sentenced to a short prison sentence in a cushy facility.

When she gets out, she hunts down her former assistant Claire, played by Kristen Bell (Bad Moms), because all her possessions have been seized and nothing is left of her empire. She doesn't know how to get back on her feet, but an idea hits when she visits one of Claire's daughter's Dandelion meeting, a group similar to the Girl Scouts. Michelle sees the girls bust their butts to sell baked goods, but doesn't see them getting anything in return. She decides to start Darnell's Darlings, who will also get to sell bake goods, in this case Claire's brownies, but they will keep a portion of the profits and some of it will be set aside so they can go to college. This becomes a battle between the Darlings and Dandelions for territory, but then Claire and Michelle spar, seemingly because they ran out of ideas for confrontation.

The Boss is filled with plenty of unrealistic scenarios, the whole idea of the Darlings business seems a bit thin in concept, and the fact that no one gets in trouble when there is a giant street fight between the Darlings and Dandelions, which included the adults. It isn't quite absurdist enough to pull stuff like that off, and I don't think it really knows what to do down the back half of the film. I think Ben Falcone and McCarthy had a good idea for a character, but never could really form a tight story around her. McCarthy does what she can to save the film, and succeeds on occasion, but it just isn't nearly enough.

The Boss is now streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.

Rating: *1/2

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