The Boss (2016)

  • Time: 99 min
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Ben Falcone
  • Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage


A titan of industry is sent to prison after she’s caught insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.


  • Melissa McCarthy is a successful comedic actress. Her films make a ton of money and she’s been nominated for an Oscar. I’m happy for the girl but in my opinion, she hasn’t been humorous in a movie since 2011’s Bridesmaids (of which she got said Oscar nom). Melissa has become the female Vince Vaughn being that she plays the same character type and bemoans the same tired mannerisms in all of her projects. She has also become the female Chris Farley. The only difference is that her aptitude of physical comedy doesn’t have any payoffs or a means to an end. When McCarthy falls down the stairs in The Boss (my latest review), it’s not justified and it feels like it was never supposed to happen. When she lays down on a fold out bed and it hurls her against a wall (also featured in “Boss”), it doesn’t register as plausible. All these shenanigans seem just for show you know. And as I sat in theater, I kinda wish The Boss could’ve been a fine-tuned documentary about Bruce Springsteen instead. Fat chance on that.

    Edited in a slipshod manner by Craig Alpert (he chopped Ride Along and The Sitter), taking place in Chicago with a lazy, pedestrian-like use of its locales, and containing a scene in which the leads pet each other’s breasts for three minutes straight (excruciating), “Boss” is not even offensively funny. It’s just plain offensive. Case in point: When I see a grown woman character close-lining a childlike, female character during a girl scout gang brawl, I cringe in revulsion. And when I see the same grown woman character shove cookies into another character’s panted keister, well I just wanna hurl.

    The story is as follows: Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) was a troublesome young girl. She was shuffled mind you from foster home to foster home. Cut to present day and she’s now the 47th wealthiest woman in America. After a tip to police from her rival businessman (Renault played by 4 foot 5 inch Peter Dinklage), Darnell is arrested for insider trading and sentenced to a few months in prison. When she gets out, she is penniless, asset-free, without friends, and pretty much homeless. Michelle Darnell’s solution: Move in with her former assistant (Claire Rawlins played by Kristen Bell) and eventually start a brownie-making empire with Claire and her cookie troop daughter (Rachel Rawlins played by Ella Anderson). Throughout “Boss”, there’s plenty of suggestive language, mean-spiritedness, and uncomfortable references to lesbianism. Ah, you gotta love the citizens via the “City of the Big Shoulders”.

    Now The Boss is helmed by Melissa McCarthy’s real-life husband, Ben Falcone. He also shot McCarthy’s 2014 vehicle, Tammy. I have yet to see Tammy but if it’s anywhere near as bad as “Boss”, well Falcone should never be allowed to venture behind the camera again (at least for the sake of his wife’s future endeavors). His direction here feels rushed and sort of pasted together. He obviously can’t work with a script supervisor because segments in “Boss” tend to go on too long with infertile background completely evaporating. There are also gaps in the film’s 100-minute running time where he relies heavily on location shots of Chicago aerials or a Chicago-based burrito restaurant (I guess that’s where Claire’s apartment was located). It’s the type of innovation that only a mother or Ed Wood could love. In truth, if Falcone wants to be in his wife’s movies, then fine (I’m sure his many cameos are stipulated in her contract). He just shouldn’t be able to direct. That needs to be nipped in the bud right away.

    As for “Boss’s” attenuated screenplay (penned by Falcone, McCarthy, and Steve Mallory), well it didn’t feel like their was one. This flick is about the trading of securities, entrepreneurship, and the emergence of a self-made woman. However, the interplay between the troupers came off as though no one did any research on these subjects. During The Boss with its twisted innuendos, its sense of cringing fantasy, and its morbid sense of hilarity, I had no idea what McCarthy’s Darnell did for a living, no idea what kind of job Kristin Bell’s Claire had, and no idea how Peter Dinklage’s antagonistic Renault became so rich. What we’re left with as an audience, is improvised, uninsightful, not to mention grating dialogue from mediocre actors (McCarthy for the moment, is excluded and Bell could do better than this thankless role). I mean was there no one on set to consult Falcone, McCarthy, or Mallory on the ins and outs of CEO compartmentalization (or anything Martha Stewart went through)? Guess not. The opening sequence in “Boss” has Melissa’s Michelle Darnell making an appearance at Chicago’s famed, United Center. She comes down on a phoenix and basically says, “I’m the wealthiest woman in America” and “do you wanna make some f**cking money!” Heck, a second grader with a ‘C’ average could have written those lines.

    Bottom line: With almost no laughs, a persona created by Melissa McCarthy that is pretty much unlikable, and a vision of her cloaked in turtle necks in nearly every single scene, The Boss as a movie, is insubordinate (no pun intended). Rating: 1 and a half stars.

    Rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars

    Check out other reviews on my blog:

  • Last time director-writer Ben Falcone teamed up with his wife Melissa McCarthy, they gave us the far from hilarious, couldn’t wait for it to be over, Tammy. McCarthy bounced back strong the following year with Spy which landed her a Golden Globe nomination. McCarthy teamed up with her husband once again for The Boss and even though it is a huge improvement from Tammy, the film still misses the mark.

    Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Tammy) headlines The Boss as a titan of industry who is sent to prison after she’s caught for insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.

    The problem with Falcone and McCarthy’s last collaboration in Tammy was that they gave us a story that was hard to care about and failed to touch our emotional or funny side. The couple automatically avoids the first problem in The Boss as the film establishes McCarthy’s Michelle as an anti-hero pretty early on as we see a montage of McCarthy’s being rejected by foster home after foster home.

    The Boss has a similar theme to Tammy in which McCarthy loses her job and goes on an adventure of sorts that is set to humble her and make her a better individual to society and those close to her. McCarthy’s slapstick abilities have always been amazing, despite a few hiccups, throughout her career and it is very present in The Boss. The couple, once again, avoided the same problem they did in their previous efforts as humor is more present within this film. The problem with the material is that it just isn’t at the caliber of McCarthy’s screen presence. The third act is filled with crude randomness that it does not even hit the mark and all humor is tossed out the window by then. Don’t get me wrong, the first two acts are filled with hilarious moments such as a slow-mo brawl between the two rival girl scouts, Michelle getting away with her ridiculous arrogance in such a ruthless way, and sell pitches that is absurdly hilarious and well-timed.

    If the film just focused on Michelle’s arrogance and avoided added the familiar twist of humbling our business Scrooge then perhaps the final outcome would of resonated with the viewers more. McCarthy is by far one of the most talented female comedians in the game right now and it is troublesome that she has yet to find material that compliments her talents. Overall, The Boss is filled with underwhelming gags that prevents the talents from shinning.

  • Somewhat of a letdown after the giddy comedic heights of last year’s Spy, The Boss is a sturdy but insufficient vehicle for Melissa McCarthy’s prodigious skills. Despite the weak plotting and characterisation, the second collaboration between McCarthy and husband/director/co-screenwriter Ben Falcone features one of McCarthy’s most outlandish creations: Michelle Darnell.

    As conceived by McCarthy, Michelle is the love child Donald Trump and Martha Stewart never had, the “47th richest woman in America” who went from rags to riches. First seen as a young girl returned time and time again to the orphanage, Michelle has become a celebrity businesswoman, the CEO of Darnell Enterprises. The secret to her success? Hard work and a ruthless unwillingness to emotional attachments. Others will only drag you down, she preaches to a stadium of adoring fans, cut them loose and sail on.

    The cocky and despotic Michelle is bound for a fall and, sure enough, she gets it via former lover and ruthless rival, Renault (a hilarious Peter Dinklage), who rats her out to the SEC for insider trading. Sentenced to five months in federal prison, her accounts frozen, her company bankrupt, she bemoans her reversal of fortune as she’s playing tennis in prison: “Look at me, fighting for my life in the yard.”

    Upon her release, Michelle realises she has nowhere to go and no one willing to help her – not surprising, considering she has belittled and backstabbed everyone who has crossed her path. Yet there is one person who reluctantly shows kindness, former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) who allows Michelle to bunk with her and her young daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson). It’s not too long before Michelle hatches a comeback involving recruiting young girls from Rachel’s Dandelion troop to sell brownies made from Claire’s recipe, thereby turning the clueless Girl Scout-type nonprofit into a multimillion-dollar baking empire.

    It’s undeniably amusing to watch Michelle steamroll over the Dandelions’ meek leader (Kristen Schaal), who seems more interested in keeping the troops and their parents abreast of her cat’s condition, and square off against Helen (Annie Mumolo), an uptight mother who heads up a competitive group of cookie sellers. Their whispered threats to one another are a highlight as is the Sam Peckinpah-style slow motion street brawl between the rival troops, which includes roundhouse kicks, girls being flung about by their hair, clotheslines strong enough to decapitate, and a burning wagon rolling past the mayhem.

    The Boss works best when presenting such an absurd view of capitalism and female empowerment. It falters when it chooses more conventional narrative routes such as Michelle and Claire’s bonding. Bell is her usual perky, unassailable, no-nonsense self, but the dynamic between her and McCarthy is no patch on the one shared by McCarthy and Rose Byrne in Spy. That pairing came with multiple layers as well as a certain equality between the actresses that is lacking between McCarthy and Bell. Which is not to say that Byrne is necessarily a better actress than Bell, but McCarthy overpowers Bell far more easily than she did Byrne. A far more interesting pairing to focus on would have been between Michelle and former mentor Ida (Kathy Bates), especially since Bates and McCarthy spark so well together.

    Click here for more reviews at the etc-etera site

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *