Is Melissa McCarthy really ‘The Boss?’ | Film Review

By Lewis Lockridge // Contributing Writer

Based off a character created for the comedy group Groundlings, The Boss stars Melissa McCarthy as Michelle Darnell, the dynamite mogul that’s made her way to the top by relying on the one person who knows her best: Herself.

From riches to rags and back again, we watch as Darnell is dethroned from her place at the top by her pretend samurai nemesis and ex-lover, Renault (Peter Dinklage), only to take her place again after discovering that her former assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), makes a top-notch brownie that she can use to make into an empire. Assembling a scary, foul-mouthed team of Girl Scouts called “Darnell’s Darlings,” the movie takes a wild turn to show just how far McCarthy will go to get a couple of laughs from the audience.

While topping Batman v. Superman, watching a money-hungry sociopath isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. A good chunk of the movie is spent watching McCarthy fish for laughs with moments of comedic predictability that makes you think you’re watching a worn out ’80s movie. At one point in particular, we watch Darnell having her teeth cleaned by Claire with a strange contraption in her mouth whose strangeness completely outweighs the humor it was supposed to present. One gag consists of watching Darnell lie on Claire’s murphy bed only to have it fold upward, causing her to hit the wall in the most unrealistic way possible. This did call for a good chuckle, if anything else, but it was a method that repeated towards the end of the movie.

With turtlenecks and scarves straight out of the back of a Martha Stewart catalog, the movie isn’t without some well crafted humor, despite some of the embarrassing performances by its cast. There’s several moments when Darnell develops a banter between a mother of a rival Girl Scout troop which cracks a couple of laughs here and there. Watching a couple of rebellious girl scouts engage in an all out-warfare had to be the most die-hard and enjoyable scene that the film produced.

The film adds in a couple of quick cameos of people from Darnell’s past, such as Kathy Bates, though the film doesn’t exactly explain the true nature of their relationship. It’s almost like they added Bates under the hopes that we would get so distracted that she made an appearance that no one would bother wondering why she was even in the film. In fact, the only relationship that is actually explored is Darnell’s relationship with Renault, though the only extent of their relationship is rather vague with only one indication that they were lovers who betrayed one another and led to their ongoing rivalry.

Even with the film’s constant switch in tone and some of its comedic predictability, McCarthy manages to play her role well, channeling an intolerable tyrant to a sweet motherly figure and back again with the flip of a switch. Overall, The Boss presents us with the typical McCarthy humor we’ve come to appreciate since her appearance in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Victoria S.
    April 29, 2016

    I don’t fully agree with the write of this post but they do have some solid points. The movie The Boss staring Melissa McCarthy definitely had some predictable moments with dumb slapstick humor but I think that was kind of the best part of the movie. Some of her last few movies such as The Heat (2013) had some pretty gross humor in it that doesn’t really appeal to me. The Boss was just straight up slapstick humor that kept me belly laughing through the whole movie. To me the movie was kind of like a breath of fresh air. A lot of movies these days like to capitalize on the horror or suspense or gore of movies and push every boundary in that way but with The Boss it was almost like just going back to the basics for me. Going into a theatre to watch a movie with a bunch of strangers who you will probably never see again but while you are all in those seats you are laughing together as a group. Then coming out with a smile on your face and your stomach hurting from laughing until you cry. That’s an amazing thing.

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