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The Boss - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
The Boss
Directing: B-
Acting: B+
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B
Editing: B

I'm not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed The Boss, even though it has an 18% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 40 score on MetaCritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews." It's not often that a movie has a rating so much higher on MetaCritic than on Rotten Tomatoes, but it should be noted that, as critic aggregate websites go, MetaCritic has a fairer rating system. That said, I'll freely admit that I probably enjoyed The Boss largely because I was drinking a stiff Screw Driver while watching it. Full disclosure: I'm not entirely sobered up from that drink even as I write this.

That said, I would still have enjoyed The Boss even if I were sober. I won't say that being under the influence of alcohol is necessary to enjoy this movie. But it wouldn't hurt.

This is always the key metric when considering a movie like this: Is it funny? Does it deliver what it promises? Surely you saw the trailer and ascertained that this was not a movie aiming to be intellectually enriching in any way. It aims only to entertain, and that is something Melissa McCarthy can do with aplomb, even in otherwise crappy movies. Fans of McCarthy -- as, I will not deny, I am one -- will not be disappointed.

Real talk: this is an objectively dumb movie. Some of the gags are stupidly over the top, as with the sofa bed that hurls a person against the wall. This might be the dumbest gag in the movie. It still made me laugh.

That's all you really need to know, isn't it? Will it make you laugh? This is the kind of movie where the answer to that question depends largely on your expectations. If you saw the trailer and deduced this is a clearly unfunny movie, then you'll watch it and not laugh. If you are a fan of Melissa McCarthy and enjoy watching her no matter what she's in, you'll laugh a great deal. I laughed a lot. But then, I was a little buzzed.

Does the story even matter? McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, a woman who comes across as a cross between Oprah Winfrey and Suze Orman. She gives area-sized crowds seminars on how to get rich. This is the opening of the movie, one of these seminars, literally in an arena in Chicago. Get rich, get rich, this is how! It's easy to think about how Darnell's shtick must be a scam, since there's no sustainable way such huge crowds could all get so rich. The movie never really explores that.

Instead, it tells the tale of how Darnell's ex-lover-turned-nemesis (Peter Dinklage, in a disappointingly thankless role) orchestrates her arrest for insider trading. Darnell then winds up crashing on the couch of her former assistant (Kristen Bell), who makes such amazing brownies that Darnell sniffs out a business opportunity. She poaches girls from said assistant's daughter's troop of girls who sell cookies clearly modeled on Girl Scout Cookies. But this brownie business aims to turn a profit.

The story beats in The Boss are everything you would expect: a relationship forms; a huge mistake is made that threatens said relationship; apologies are made and redemption achieved. The difference is that the context here is friendship -- between Darnell and he former assistant -- rather than romance. Even this isn't that novel anymore; plenty of recent movies take this approach an in apparent aim to be different. As far as plot goes, The Boss truly doesn't offer anything you haven't already seen a million times.

The key difference, really, is Melissa McCarthy -- as is the case with just about every movie McCarthy is in. She consistently elevates the mediocre work she constantly appears in. It sure would be great to see her to great work in an actually great movie. Instead, she keeps doing great work in otherwise forgettable movies. But whatever; it's nice to see her getting consistent work. Her very career indicates a slow change in the way studio execs consider what types of movies to greenlight.

There's nothing great about The Boss, except for Melissa McCarthy herself. She's a fantastically entertaining performer who makes otherwise crap movies entertaining. Such is the case with this movie. She's winning enough to make it among the better of her cinematic offerings since Bridesmaids, although admittedly that's not saying much. Still, no one ever made any promise of The Boss being anything more than it is, and there's something to be said for a movie that delivers on is promises, however low the target of its promises may be. It may be dumb, but it delivers the laughs you expect from it.

Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell elevate the otherwise blah movie that is THE BOSS.

Overall: B
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