There’s one reason to see The Boss. One. It’s also the only reason anybody would pay money to see the film anyway, but that doesn’t take away from the reason’s emphasis, because it’s a pretty big one.
Ever since Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids in 2011, the Academy Award nominated McCarthy has become arguably the most popular comedy actress in Hollywood. She stole Bridesmaids out from under the feet of Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, and Spy was as fun as action comedies get. Even so-so movies, like The Heat, are elevated because of her talents. So why the heck is she slumming it in The Boss?
McCarthy, rocking a Suze Orman wig and turtle necks that go up to her chin, is Michelle Darnell, a business mogul fresh out of jail for insider trading. With everything she owns seized, Michelle is forced to crash with her overworked assistant Claire (Kristen Bell). After taking Claire’s daughter to an off-brand Girl Scouts meeting, the felon happens upon an idea: create her own off-brand Girl Scout group, sell brownies, and get back on top.
Co-written by McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone, who also directs, The Boss is the second film the duo have conceived, the dud Tammy being the first. It’s odd that someone like Will Ferrell is at his best when writing his own material, playing to his strengths, but McCarthy – Identity Thief aside – is at her worst. If she and Falcone focused on making a good movie instead of spotlighting McCarthy’s comedic chops, things might be better. Because The Boss wastes so, so much potential.
Aside from a couple of fleeting moments, The Boss makes little to no use of a killer supporting cast that includes Bell, Peter Dinklage, Tyler Labine, Kathy Bates, Cecily Strong and Kristen Schaal. All of them serve as little more than springboards for whatever McCarthy is doing in a given scene.
The weird thing about The Boss is McCarthy does get a few laughs. Not many people can deliver a rated R rant like she can. In fact, if you can ignore the paper-thin plot, the wasted talent, the one-note characters, pretty much everything except McCarthy, The Boss isn’t half bad. The catch is whenever a comedic bit ends, the fact that this movie is about a felon exploiting child labor – and is not only celebrated for it, but nobody questions the legality of it – the fact that you’re watching a movie about such a despicable person comes roaring back to the forefront.