I really wanted to like The Boss. I promise I tried.
There were even a few things I LOVED about it, like the way it called out a certain cookie-selling group for being nothing but a corporation. The “Daffodils” in The Boss were supposedly empowering girls, but they were really just using them for child labor. The “Darnell Darlings” actually helped the girls instead, by selling brownies to start their own college funds.
I also loved how the “Darnell Darlings” weren’t portrayed as little princesses, but instead as foul-mouthed thugs. I have two little girls of my own, so I loved watching the “Darlings” throw down in an Anchorman-style street fight. (This probably says horrible things about my parenting skills.)
I am also a huge Melissa McCarthy fan and will cut her slack when most critics won’t, but this time, I just can’t.
McCarthy plays entrepreneur Michelle Darnell, who goes to jail for insider trading and loses everything. She stages a comeback through brownie sales and tries to make amends along the way, but her conniving nature undermines her otherwise good intentions. At least, that’s what we’re supposed to believe. Michele is such an insufferable jerk, it’s hard to believe her, even when she is being good.
The Boss starts off strong but before long it falls back on a McCarthy Crutch: Cussing her way out of a scene. I like F-bombs more than most people, especially when they’re dropped by Melissa McCarthy, but they lose their potency when used every 60 seconds.
This screenplay was written by Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone (who also directed it). They co-wrote the screenplay for Tammy as well, which also featured McCarthy at her foul-mouthed nastiest.
Why do they, a husband and wife team, choose to portray her this way, when McCarthy has so much more to offer?
We’ve also learned through recent hits like Spy and Saint Vincent, that McCarthy’s far more fun to watch when she’s playing it real. The Boss has her in goofy wigs and ridiculous turtlenecks throughout though, and is about as far from real as she can get.
This isn’t the main problem with The Boss, though. It’s clunky and simply not funny. It also feels rushed, like they ran out of time and just patched together the material they had. There’s also a painfully misused Peter Dinklage. He plays Darnell’s ex-boyfriend, which starts off as an interesting character development, but turns into a size-difference sight-gag. Kristen Bell plays Claire, Darnell’s assistant and, though she’s obviously having a blast, she barely registers onscreen.
I hate to bash The Boss, because I know it puts any future BFF Sleepover Parties I have planned with Melissa McCarthy in peril, but it’s the truth. And at the risk of sounding like McCarthy’s disappointed mother, I simply expected more from her. –D