There’s a huge audience out there that doesn’t enjoy the humour of Melissa McCarthy. If you’re part of that group, then there’s no way you’re ever seeing The Boss, so this review is written for fans of the funnywoman.
McCarthy delivers as the title “boss” Michelle Darnell, with f-bombs here, s-bombs there, and enough see-you-next-Tuesdays to make a sailor blush. The laughs come a mile-a-minute, and while the movie follows a typical comedy structure (sad back story, rise to glory, fall from grace, revelation, resolution), it doesn’t bog down the film unless you’re expecting something more from it.
Like Bridesmaids before it, The Boss is a woman’s comedy. This shouldn’t exclude men from seeing it, but you barely see any men onscreen. Tyler Labine (Breaker High) plays a background love interest for McCarthy co-star Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) is a rich, eccentric ninja wannabe whose love-hate relationship with Darnell is the fuel for many jokes.
But there’s something so different about a woman-centric comedy; it lacks the heaviness of a male-driven comedy — say, like The Hangover — and it’s refreshing to have jokes about relationships and sex from a female point-of-view. The plot is just as ridiculous as any comedic movie, but at no time are women reliant on men to solve their problems, and Bell’s character has a young daughter who takes priority over her relationship-seeking. At one point, McCarthy looks at Labine’s character and says, “Oh, I didn’t even notice you were still here.” In a nutshell, that’s how big a role men play.
It sounds like this movie is not for men.
Au contraire! This is precisely the kind of movie men should see. The Boss, as implausible as its premise may be, shows that women can make their own way in the world without an iota of male help (OK, so Labine’s character dresses up as a phoenix to help them get access to a building, but that’s it). In this film women come up with the plans and execute them, and when they fight, there’s no slaps or hair-pulling. We’re talking full-on fist punches to the face.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if Bell and Labine’s love works out, because it’s essentially irrelevant to the proceedings. When was the last time you saw a “mainstream” (manstream?) movie where a relationship isn’t the entire focal point of a woman’s role?
Are there any stand-out moments or jokes?
A huge street brawl between the Dandelions (think: Brownies) and Darnell’s newfangled girl’s group Darnell’s Darlings. I’m not condoning girl-on-girl violence, but watching little girls fight each other is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long while. It’s another double-standard turned on its head: it’s OK for little boys to fight, but not girls. The Boss completely ignores that commonly held stance to hilarious results.
How’s the supporting cast?
Dinklage is great in anything he does, and he has a real knack for physical and verbal comedy. Once Game of Thrones ends, he’ll find himself in a good spot for both movies and TV. Bell is almost expressionless in the film, which is strange for someone of her calibre. The Boss may have been a better film if McCarthy’s foil was more engaging. That said, a few of her jokes land. The scene-stealer here is Bell’s daughter, played by the young Ella Anderson, and a few of her Dandelion friends. Kathy Bates makes a wonderful, too-short cameo.
Can I take my kid to see this movie?
This is a toughie, since it is rated R. If your child doesn’t freak out about swearing, then it should be fine. But if you’d prefer your kid not be repeating vulgar jokes for the ensuing weeks, you might want to rethink it. Other than the obscenity, there is zero nudity and no sex on screen. The violence, while plentiful, is bloodless and very obviously fake.
So what’s the bottom line?
McCarthy fans will laugh a lot. Women will laugh a lot; hell, I laughed a lot. Just go in knowing it’s a simplistic comedy, and you have nothing to lose.
‘The Boss’ opens in theatres on April 8.