Melissa McCarthy begs for your laughs in her husband Ben Falcone's latest film The Boss, but earns them sparingly. The film's script is occasionally dark, but mostly just dumb and weightless.
Ben Falcone‘s latest comedy The Boss, starring his wife Melissa McCarthy, is proof that you really do need a good script to make such a detestable character work, despite McCarthy’s comedic talents. She knows how to time a joke and execute it perfectly, but it helps if the actual joke is funny. The Boss is mostly weightless and dumb, failing to make much sense of its characters or story.
Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) is a hot shot money-maker that takes whatever she wants and leave her competitors in the dust. She’s been an orphan her entire life, which means that she never really developed that soft spot for a family or for friends in general. She’s been going it alone her whole life and that’s mostly helped her from a financial standpoint.
But now she’s faced with jail time due to insider trading and suddenly her entire empire is worth nothing. This leads her to living with her assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) and her daughter.
It’s with Claire that Michelle realizes the importance of having loved ones in your life and being able to emote feelings towards others.
The Boss is a fairly simple comedy that banks entirely on McCarthy’s comedic efforts to succeed where other films would simply fail. Director/writer Ben Falcone keeps the focus completely on McCarthy, which is mostly a wise choice.
I say mostly because her co-star Kristen Bell proves to be more than capable at dishing out and receiving the jokes, occasionally almost better than McCarthy, which at the very least makes The Boss an interesting back-and-forth between the two.
The problem with the film is that it has no real agenda or purpose. Falcone’s film makes no attempt to break new grounds or really even dig into the character of Michelle in anyway.
The Boss is barely about Michelle becoming a better person or even understanding why she was such an asshole in the first place. It simply uses McCarthy’s talents to fuel the film’s ridiculous characters and nonsensical plot points.
Peter Dinklage is wasted in a role that’s given no real motives or closure aside from the fact that he wants whatever Michelle has and eventually even Kristen Bell‘s charms are sidelined in order for McCarthy’s detestable Michelle to learn a few life lessons.
Eventually, the film runs out of steam and things wrap up far too quickly and in a neat and organized matter that doesn’t exactly solve anything. It just sort of comes to a halt and suddenly everything is okay for the central characters, without any real justice or resolution.
And yet that feels okay, because even at a brisk 99 minutes The Boss still feels like a slight chore to sit through.
I enjoy McCarthy and feel like she’s explosively funny when used right, but her work with Falcone has mostly been slightly amusing. Occasionally the film dips into darker territories and the film becomes interesting, but then things get too silly and dumb and the film loses its edge.
There’s a real darkness to Michelle that I know McCarthy could’ve cracked and brought to life, but both herself and Falcone’s script remains inside the lines of safety, which results in a film that’s going to make a few people laugh, but only out of initial shock and not because of its well-written jokes or gags.
I walked into The Boss with middle-of-the-road expectations and walked out feeling slightly disappointed. It’s exactly the film that I feared it was going to be, yet it occasionally had some strong moments where McCarthy attempted to show us a darker, more disturbing look at what the character could’ve been. But all of those moments are followed with predictable decisions that keep the character on auto-pilot for the rest of the film.
There’s definitely worse ways to kill 99 minutes, but I’d bypass this one if you didn’t care for Falcone’s last film Tammy. The Boss brings back that same lingering feeling of wasted talent and production value.