Melissa McCarthy’s latest, The Boss, is a lazy, poorly-written shit-show. It’s not a good movie. In fact, there’s really not much separating The Boss from a typical Adam Sandler comedy, except that McCarthy is funnier and more likable and still has the ability to occasionally say something unexpectedly bizarre and wondrously profane.
The Boss is currently sporting around a 15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. If this were the same movie starring Adam Sandler, it’d be firmly at 0 percent. It may sound like a double standard, but it’s not, exactly. Dick-and-fart movies have been poked, prodded, and completely exhausted of all their utility. There just aren’t any good dick jokes left. The raunchy female-led comedy, however, still remains somewhat unique (though, thanks to McCarthy, it’s quickly losing its novelty). There is still some life left in boob-and-vagina jokes. Even the lazy ones haven’t been completely exhausted, and that’s really the only thing that makes The Boss watchable: One never knows what McCarthy is going to say about her cootch or Kristen Bell’s boobs. There still remains a small element of surprise.
It’s not enough to redeem The Boss, because The Boss is a terrible movie. Peter Dinklage is horrible in this and I didn’t think it was possible for Peter Dinklage to be horrible in anything. He plays the ex-boyfriend of Michelle (McCarthy), a obscenely wealthy and successful business woman who got to where she was by screwing over everyone else and refusing to make friends with anyone. That includes her former co-worker and lover Ronald (Dinklage), who gets his revenge upon Michelle by reporting her to the SEC for insider trading, which results in a five-month prison term and the seizure of all of her assets.
Forced to start all over, Michelle moves in with her former assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell) and her daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson). It doesn’t take long for Michelle to hatch a comeback plan: She takes over half of the Girl-Scout like Dandelions’ troupe and exploits them to sell Claire’s brownies using ruthless sales tactics, bullying, and physical abuse.
It’s broad and formulaic and predictable, but McCarthy is so gifted a comedian that she is still able to elicit at least one laugh every ten minutes, either through some absurdly funny physical gag or by flashing her crotch while applying self-tanner. Unfortunately, Kristen Bell is as wasted as a typical Adam Sandler love interest, and Timothy Simons (Veep) is given absolutely nothing to work with as the assistant to Dinklage’s character.
Like the 2014 misfire, Tammy, The Boss was written by McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directed both films. He seems like a nice guy, and I’m sure it’s fun for Falcone and McCarthy to work together, but they do not make good movies. They are, however, cheap and profitable, and on a $29 million budget, The Boss should have no problem recouping its budget. Fortunately, McCarthy alternates collaborations with her husband with projects with Paul Feig (Heat, Spy, Bridesmaids), and this summer’s Ghostbusters should keep McCarthy popular enough that her and her husband can continue to turn a profit next year on another bad, half-baked high concept movie.