REVIEW — “The Boss”
Due to its poor writing and pacing, as well as Bell and Dinklage’s horrendous performances, Ben Falcone’s The Boss is a disappointing misfire.
Comedy and Direction:
Even though this film stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell (Frozen), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Tyler Labine (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Kathy Bates (Misery, The Blind Side), and Ben Falcone, it does not work as a comedy. This is partially due to poor direction from Ben Falcone (Tammy), who consistently fails to time the humor effectively. Also, his direction makes every instance of slapstick comedy predictable and underwhelming.
To make matters worse, the screenplay, which Falcone co-wrote with Melissa McCarthy and Steve Mallory (Tammy, Identity Thief), is full of lackluster, repetitive gags. For example, Melissa McCarthy’s character consistently tells every character that opposes her to “F*** off” or flips them off. At first, this is mildly humorous, but by the fourth or fifth time in the first act, it is simply lazy. It is worth noting that, unlike in Spy and Bridesmaids – McCarthy’s best films, the constant swearing is not well timed-or used.
Pacing – Three Acts:
Despite its 99-minute running time, The Boss feels like a three hour trip to the dentist office. This is due to the formulaic plot and inconsistent tone. The plot of The Boss is: “A titan of industry 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.” In other words, Melissa McCarthy portrays another abandoned, foul-mouthed woman in need of a family and redemption, a la Identity Thief and many other superior comedies. Because Michelle Darnell is a cliché and McCarthy fails to provide any noteworthy emotive work, there is no reason to care about her character arc.
Consequently, the first act is a relentless onslaught of crass jokes, swearing, and McCarthy’s usual antics. Unfortunately, this act is weak due to the timing issues and weak dialogue. To be fair, there are several gags that are actually humorous and well-handled. One of the best scenes of the entire film is when Claire (Kristen Bell) walks in on Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) spray-tanning herself.
The second act, on the other hand, features several hilarious scenes. This portion of the film is strongest thanks to the fact that McCarthy’s comedic timing improves as the gags become more inventive. In one particular scene, two groups of young girls selling brownies have an epic brawl. In another memorable scene, Claire and Michelle discuss how a bra should position a woman’s bosom.
By far, the weakest act of The Boss is its finale, in which the screenwriters and director try to mix crass humor, drama, and action. Because Michelle Darnell and Claire are both stereotypes; there is no point in investing in their formulaic conflict. Also, the fact that Kristen Bell gives the worst performance of her career, portraying a strict mother, makes the character unlikeable and uninteresting. Every time, Claire is the primary character in a scene, the pacing drops off and this film falters. With this in mind, the poor characterization of Claire and Michelle, along with Bell’s horrendous “performance” make the last act unwatchable.
The primary antagonist, Renault, portrayed by Peter Dinklage (X-Men: Days of Future Past) is a businessman that Michelle has betrayed in the past. Because he believes he is a samurai, everything he does is more intense, monotone, and bizarre. Dinklage’s performance is as one-note as the character. Regrettably, the one-note the primary antagonist has is off key. It is worth noting that Renault hardly appears in the second act of The Boss, which makes its plotting issues even more apparent.
The Boss boasts a solid second-act, but it is weighed down by its poor writing and pacing, as well as two painstakingly awful performances. As a whole, this film is a disappointing misfire because it does not work as a comedy or a drama.
Runtime: 99 Minutes
Rating: R for sexual content, language and brief drug use.
Are you looking forward to this film? Will you see it in theaters?