By Christian DiMartino
Melissa McCarthy is capable of being so funny that it’s a shame a lot of her projects don’t quite stick the landing. Last year’s Spy was probably the funniest movie I came across the entire year. But yet a triumphant McCarthy comedy is, sadly, somewhat hard to come by. Take, for example, her latest film The Boss.
This film has been ripped to shreds by most. I, however, cannot rip it to shreds, because I won’t deny: I laughed. The first half is a little wobbly, but when it’s funny, it’s pretty funny. But then the film makes a big mistake in its latter half. I’ll get to that in a bit.
This time, McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, the 47th richest woman in the world. As a person, she is, as Kathy Bates says in a nearly pointless cameo, a c**ksucker, a motherf**ker, an asswipe, a s**tstain, a sewer rat, and a f**kface. Darnell, an orphan all her life (her adopters returned her every five years or so), abides by the motto that families are for suckers, hence why she pretty much distances herself from everyone.
Peter Dinklage shows up in an unfortunate role as Renault, who tells the feds that Michelle has been doing some insider trading, so she is soon sent to prison, in which she is left with nothing. Once she gets out, she obviously has no where to go, so she seeks out her old assistant Claire (the always charming Kristen Bell) and stays with her. While there, she gets to know her and her daughter (the daughter character is one of those “movie daughters,” where you know she only really exists as a plot device).
And alas, this is where the plot thickens.
Michelle takes Claire’s daughter to a girl scout meeting. While there, she catches wind of the profits. And from then on, Michelle attempts to build a brownie empire.
The first half of The Boss is hit or miss, but mind you, it takes a lot of swings, so I was kind of okay when it missed. Because when it hit, it was pretty funny. Plus, even though this is a role McCarthy could do in her sleep, she still sells the hell out of it. It’s somewhat uninspired, but yet she makes it work. Plus I always like Bell, even if she’s Sarah Marshall.
But then… whatever air there is leaves the balloon. The film decides to develop a heart that you feared it would from the opening scene, and then it goes all soft and gooey on us. Big mistake. Because what led up to it was tasteless, yes, but at least tasteless to the point where it’s funny. The last half is damn near laugh free.
But yet I am still rewarding it with 2 stars. Why? It probably should be lower. My thing is, The Boss isn’t as bad as it is frustrating. It’s more of a misguided film than a bad one. I don’t want to say this, but it seems as if McCarthy is only really successful when she works with director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy). He just knows how to handle her. This film is directed by her husband, Ben Falcone, who, obviously, also knows how to handle her. But yet, in their own ways, they’re their own worst enemies. I didn’t think The Boss sucked, but yet, it could’ve been a helluva lot better.