‘The Boss’ attempts make you laugh through violent vignettes and witty banter that consistently falls flat.
Comedy constantly plays with fire. Whether you enjoy it or not, it’s the riskiest genre in the business, especially in how it can both ricochet and reprimand one’s gradual climb to notoriety. Just ask Hollywood’s elephant in the room: Melissa McCarthy.
McCarthy is notorious for her offbeat sense of humor, tailing away from the cinematic standards of a contemporary leading lady. However, all that glitters is not gold, and not every one of McCarthy’s self-motivated punchlines win over our hearts. Her aggressive undertones grow old fairly quickly, and it’s most evident in her newest feature, The Boss.
Penned by McCarthy and her husband, fellow comedian Ben Falcone, The Boss tells the fictional story of the 47th wealthiest woman in America, Michelle Darnell (also played by McCarthy). This red-headed maverick, detailed with a foul mouth and turtlenecks to spare, loses it all in the midst of her insider trading, only landing her behind bars. Nonetheless, upon her release back into the harsh world outside prison, she builds herself back up to the top with the help of her ex-assistant Claire (Kristen Bell). She does this by tagging along to an untethered industry: the Girl Scouts of America. There, she builds a Brownie dynasty that stands against people’s wildest expectations, including that of her business arch-nemesis, Renault (Peter Dinklage).
Even though the plot might sound familiar in some sorts, The Boss has plenty to worry about otherwise. One could debate the need for excessive violence and vulgarity, for instance. Unfortunately, we live in a society that confuses brashness with comedy, and it has become a template in many ways. This film embodies the spirit of that foundation, playing off of everything from Girl Scouts beating each other to a pulp to a timely discussion of who will (for lack of a better term) put their mouth in certain situations for the sake of a getaway plan. In short, it makes McCarthy’s work seem less intelligent than it could be.
“The Boss was not really all that funny,” said Jenna Stuiso, a Nutley native and a fan of overall comedy. “There were points during the movie where there was clearly supposed to be a lot of laughter, but it was just silent. It definitely fell short of my expectations.”
And weirdly enough, in the heat of it all, McCarthy still managed to be the best part of this film. Take her out, and you have exactly what you’d expect: 99 minutes of empty space. Not to say that she was at her best, both comically and as an actress, but it’s comedies like The Boss that remind me that even the funniest and most talented artists in the business still have some soul-searching to do.
Maybe it’s simply the old-fashioned, sentimental film junkie in me, but this movie might just be too bossy for its own good.
The Boss is playing in movie theaters everywhere! Some local venues include AMC Clifton Commons 16, AMC Loews Wayne 14 and even West Orange’s Dine-In Theater, AMC Essex Green 9. For a list of even more theaters and show-times, visit fandango.com and plan your trip to the movies today!