The Bock’s Office: ‘The Boss’ is business as usual
April 14, 2016
Recent movies like "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "The Big Short" have shown us how insane corporate antics can be, primarily from a male perspective. With "The Boss," we see the ladies' take on the business world through a highly progressive topic — baked goods.
If you go…
"The Boss," rated R
Rating: 2 out of 4 stars
Running time: 99 minutes
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Tyler Labine and Peter Dinklage
Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.
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Chicago billionaire Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) is the CEO of multiple Fortune 500 companies, one of the most powerful women in the world and never hesitates to remind everyone around her about her accomplishments, most of which have come as a result of stepping on her associates.
Karma finally catches up with the bombastic business gal when she is arrested and jailed for insider trading. And, though Michelle considers the incident only a minor setback, upon her release she comes to the realization that life won't be the same with her assets frozen and everyone in her industry overjoyed at her downfall.
Reduced to crashing on the couch of her former assistant (Kristen Bell), she may be down but not out, seeking a way back to the top and finding it by borrowing the sales model of a local scout troop.
McCarthy doesn't disappoint as a woman who has the following of Oprah Winfrey, the record of Martha Stewart and the humility of Donald Trump. Mix in the actress's artisan talent for cursing, and you've got a recipe for success in comedy as she brings to the silver screen a character she first created during her time with the improv troupe The Groundlings.
Speaking of recipes, it doesn't take much acumen to see kids selling cookies and think, "Hey, I can do the same thing but slightly different." Thus comes the creation of Darnell's Darlings, a troop that peddles brownies with a smile, a red beret and a bedazzled badge featuring Che Guevara's long-lost child raising her fist in revolution.
Bell does what she can as Michelle's right-hand woman, Claire, a single mom who manages to let herself be talked into partnering with the same lady who dominated her life before her prison sentence and became a permanent houseguest afterward — constant verbal abuse is one thing, but that spray tan mess in the bathroom is quite another.
Peter Dinklage nearly matches McCarthy's level of lunacy as Renault, a rival businessman who spends minimal time in the boardroom and far too many man-hours plotting Michelle's demise. Apparently there's a thin line between creepy stalker devotion and raw, seething hatred.
When you start things off with a descent by a golden phoenix and a song and dance number of "All I Do Is Win" that includes T-Pain, that sets the stage for some pretty high expectations. And, while McCarthy does provide some delightfully outrageous moments — a slow-motion street fight between Darnell's Darlings and their competition, the Dandelions, is a highlight — viewers can't put much stock in the screenplay she collaborated on with Steve Mallory and her husband/director Ben Falcone, also playing the lawyer who gets a tennis ball to the throat for daring to tell his client the hard truth.
It's better than the couple's last venture, 2014's "Tammy," and Michelle's ridiculous wardrobe is a laugh in itself, but a story that could skewer an easy target like corporate corruption or at least address the glass ceiling ultimately has nothing to say.
Also, if you're going to cast Kathy Bates, why would you give her nothing to do?
The main selling point of "The Boss" is its star, but McCarthy can't carry everything by herself, and if you're not a fan of her style to start with, you won't buy in for this time at the theater.
Of course, you may want to reserve judgment until after you've seen her clothesline a pre-teen girl.
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