The Boss - The Riles Review
Melissa McCarthy is a comedic rock star. Since her small but hugely influential role in Bridesmaids, she has been headlining films all herself. Some of these are perfect, hilarious McCarthy vehicles (Spy) and some others weren’t so hot (Identity Thief). But any problematic films she has had haven’t been issues rooted in her acting ability, these issues are always more to do with the film itself. The Boss is the latest to come out, and while it’s never going to be something you’ll go out of your way to see a second time, it’s quite a funny and sincere movie, if only because of the strength of the cast.
The Boss has Michelle Darnell sent to prison for an incalculable five months for insider trading. Having been released and having burned every bridge she had, Michelle seeks to put herself back into prosperity once again, learning a valuable life lesson along the way...
So right off the bat, the film could’ve said more about wage gap and those sorts of socioeconomic issues, because it said literally nothing about any of that, which is a really timely issue it could have addressed. It gave off a ‘but money can’t buy you everything’ sort of stench, but throughout the movie, it looks like she was doing significantly worse without the money. In fact the only times she was happy were when she was drowning in money, as if to say it’s not the most important but it sure is still important.
The story does what it has to do. It’s nothing revolutionary in the realm of storytelling, but it puts everything in place for the funny bits, and that’s all you need. There are one or two truly inspired scenes, and some pretty funny moments of culture shock here and there as Michelle learns how the %99 live. It’s funny, but I don’t feel like it’ll be a film I’d relish in years from now. It does its job and not a whole lot more.
But regardless of that, I didn’t see it to learn how to be a good person or see some poignant social commentary. I wanted to laugh, and on that front it was successful. The humour is pretty consistent, and McCarthy and company give it their all. Some of the jokes could fall a little flat, but they were propped up by their delivery. Nothing really pushes the boundaries of good taste either, so you’re not debating with yourself whether it’s okay to laugh throughout the movie. It’s a safe, inside the box sort of film, so if you sought the avant-garde, you took a huge misstep. This has dick jokes and girl scouts punching each other in the junk, so proceed accordingly.
Melissa McCarthy is still totally on her A-game. Michelle Darnell is a wickedly funny character, and McCarthy nails everything about her. If Donald Trump was a woman who wasn’t so insanely rich and stupid beyond saving, it would be Michelle Darnell.
Aside from McCarthy, the supporting cast are great, and that’s what saves the movie from complete mediocrity. Kristen Bell nails the assistant-now-partner role opposite McCarthy. Tyler Labine comes across as a genuinely sweet and charming sort of dude. And to top it off, Peter Dinklage sleeks in with one of his funniest roles yet. Dinklage is the stock market arch nemesis to Michelle Darnell, and Dinklage makes him bizarre, amusing and really funny all the way through. There’s a couple of cameos plopped in here and there, as well as some notable comedic actors thrown in too. They all work and do what they have to do, but that's it.
The Boss gets exactly the pass mark, and has that mark elevated only because of its cast. I laughed when I was supposed to. I didn’t laugh hard, but I did laugh. I don’t think ten years of reflection will turn it into a revered cult classic, but for something to do right now, you might as well.
The Boss - 6.5/10