by Colin Lomas
High flying self-made money-magnet Michelle Darnell (McCarthy), multiple CEO and extravagant public speaker, is one of the wealthiest women in America. Long suffering assistant Claire (Bell) is in a constant battle to organise her self-obsessed employer while warding off sycophants and Darnell’s bitter ex-lover and fellow multi-billionaire Renault (Dinklage). When Renault finds out Darnell has been involved in insider trading, he reports her to the authorities and gets her a stretch in prison. When she reappears some years later she finds that her entire fortune has been taken by the government and the only person she has to turn to is single mum Claire. When Darnell takes Claire’s daughter Rachel (Anderson) to her local Girl Guides meeting, she discovers that the manufacture and distribution of cookies is a lucrative nationwide business and sets up as an aggressive competitor selling Claire’s homemade brownies, employing most of the girls as paid co-workers.
The Boss supposedly situates itself as a comedy and therefore concessions admittedly have to be made with the storyline. Saying that, it is difficult to see past what an utterly stupid and unrealistic plan Darnell comes up with. She somehow convinces her ex-mentor to invest millions of dollars into what is basically a child labour sweatshop in the middle of New York and at no point is this considered as an issue by anyone involved.
The alleged comedy on show here positions itself purely in the ‘swearing inappropriately in front of children’ locale, which takes around two instances before beginning to bore. One time-honoured trick to attempt to bring the comedy back on track in this situation is to suddenly get the children to swear inappropriately in front of the adults, and like a molecular chain reaction of predictability, this is exactly what happens. There are also the mandatory attempts at slapstick which excruciatingly bomb every single time.
It is possible to argue that McCarthy does her best with a terrible script, that she just about manages to scrape some laughs from a virtually empty barrel. These fleeting moments of redemption are problematic though when you remember that McCarthy herself is partially responsible for writing this garbage in the first place. There are glimpses of why she is so widely respected as a comedienne but generally she looks so out of place that Darnell becomes a cartoonish blob in the middle of semi-transient river of transparent debris. How Ferrell and McKay continue to get their movies financed is a mystery to everyone but there must come a stage, very soon, where this ends. It cannot be possible to continually shovel this kind of tripe onto the big screen and keep the most money-focussed financier ethically happy.
After attaching himself to the abomination of Pixels, one would have hoped Peter Dinklage would have taken some script-reading lessons, yet he manages to out-do his previous attempt with the most ridiculously crap over-the-top villain seen in years. Yes, he’s very small, but here’s a bit of advice for all script-writers out there; small does not necessarily mean funny. Wheeling out a vertically challenged chap specifically for laughs is what people did a hundred years ago just before the main act on pop-up stages in east London, so please learn from this. Give the man a decent script.
The Boss is a pretty embarrassing affair all round, and most annoyingly of all will probably do quite well at the box office. Yet it doesn’t deserve to; it’s childish, unfunny, and it’s been done a hundred times before. Anyone awaiting the new Ghostbusters movie will look at what McCarthy has done here with a serious amount of trepidation.
1 / 5
Dir: Ben Falcone
Scr: Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory, Melissa McCarthy
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Ella Anderson
Prd: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone
Music: Christopher Lennertz
DOP: Julio Macat
Run Time: 99 Minutes