Movie Review: “The Boss” – Funny But Weird

Written by Caitlin Cooper May 13, 2016

the boss

Comedies are usually pretty hit or miss for me. Sometimes I find Melissa McCarthy’s films hilarious, like Bridesmaids and Spy, but other times I find them too ridiculous and honestly not very funny, like The Heat and Tammy. But the trailer for The Boss made me laugh, and I liked it enough that I wanted to see the film. And while the film does have moments that frankly aren’t great, they’re just plain weird or too over-the-top, The Boss is mostly funny and surprisingly serious at times; I kind of liked it.

Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) had a troubled childhood spent in and out of foster homes. Since she couldn’t rely on other people, she used all her energy to build an amazing life and became a very successful business woman. However, after she’s charged with and sent to prison for insider trading, the empire she worked so hard to build is wasting away. Ready to re-brand herself, restore her public image, and come back better than ever, she enlists the help of her former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) to help her start a new business venture. But her cynical world view and her past as a ruthless business woman means people get hurt in the process. Michelle needs to mend fences and learn that family is more important than being successful, that she can have both in her life and be happy.

“My name is Michelle Darnell, and I am the wealthiest woman in America.”

The Boss is overall about a woman who was disappointed by people again and again as a kid, and so decided not to get close to anyone again. Instead, her fulfillment and happiness came from building her career and being successful. But when she accidentally (or so she claims) engages in insider trading, the life she built is taken from her. Though she ends up thriving in prison, her life outside is empty. She has no friends, no more job, and all her assets have been seized. So she turns to the only person she knows will help: her former employee, Claire. Though initially Claire feels no sympathy for Michelle, she agrees to help her get back on her feet. And Michelle’s grand idea is to create a brownie empire to compete with the local brownies who have rude parents in the hopes that this business will improve her public image and make her wealthy once again. But people from her past aren’t as forgiving as she’d hope. Through betrayals and ups and downs, Michelle realizes she found a family with Claire and Claire’s daughter. She finally has people she can trust to care and support her. And she can finally open her heart again. I really like that plot and message, and I think it was written very well. As for the comedy, well, it’s funny for the most part. Though that fight between opposing brownie groups is full on ridiculous, it is entertaining. When Michelle and Claire try to break into her ex’s office is probably the weirdest and least funny part of the film. That hole dynamic between Michelle and her ex, Renault (Peter Dinklage), is bizarre because he literally tries to kill her and ruin her simply because she broke his heart years ago. But The Boss has a lot of quick one-liners, and the characters are both hilarious and interesting.

the boss

Of course, what would any comedy be without great actors? The Boss is full of funny people, and they all have great comedic timing and delivery. When McCarthy is good, she’s really good. This character is hilarious and weird, and that McCarthy fully becomes her on screen. I’m familiar with Bell as Veronica Mars, but she continues to handle comedy really well (though The Boss is more about being silly than sarcastic and witty). It feels natural. Kathy Bates was a nice surprise in the film, and it would’ve been nice for her to have more screen time. Dinklage’s character is my least favourite, but that’s due to the writing not the acting.

“We are going to start a brownie empire.”

The Boss is funny and serious – with a surprisingly deep message – though sometimes it delves a little too far into the ridiculous. I appreciate that the story has substance and there’s good character growth, and a lot of the dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell play off each other well, and balance each other’s character. I wouldn’t say The Boss is comedy gold, but I was entertained.

My Rating: 6.5/10

the boss

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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