The Boss

Directed By: Ben Falcone

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Ella Anderson, Tyler Labine, Annie Mumolo, Kristen Schaal, Margo Martindale, and Kathy Bates

Since the release of Bridesmaids some five years ago now, Melissa McCarthy has been an unstoppable force on the big screen.  The proof is in the pudding of her filmography.  She's had some quality films in recent years.  Just look to films such as The Heat, St. Vincent, and Spy.  There's a flip side to the McCarthy coin, however.  She's starred in some films that have been received as duds in that time as well.  There have certainly been some potent sleep aids including Identity Thief, The Hangover: Part III, and especially Tammy, which all fall in this latter category.  I had high hopes that this weekend's The Boss would rise to the occasion.  Alas, hopes don't always materialize.  As it stands, McCarthy is cooking with grease in The Boss.  It's just that director Ben Falcone and the rest of his cast and crew didn't get the memo and serve up some half-baked brownies.

Rejected by multiple foster families over the years and raised in a Catholic orphanage by Sister Aluminata (Margo Martindale), Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) has essentially been on her own all her life.  A successful business mogul, she's made that abundantly clear to anyone and everyone in her life, especially to her assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) and her former lover and current competitor Renault (Peter Dinklage).  When Michelle is arrested and convicted of insider trading, her outlook on life is put to the test.  Upon being released from prison, her business is no more, her assets have been seized, and all of her peers throughout Chicago look down upon her.  Being all on her own, she turns to her former employee Claire for help.  Living on Claire's couch in a tiny apartment in the city, Michelle begins to plot her comeback.  The idea that might just do the trick comes her way while taking Claire's daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson) to a Girl Scouts meeting.  Soon, Michelle is off to build her brownie empire with Darnell's Darlings, her own elite troupe of girls.

The Boss
has one redeeming quality, and her name is Melissa McCarthy.  The popular comedian delivers the goods from her end with a solid, charismatic performance befitting the film's title.  That being said, everything else around her is a hot mess.  The hackneyed script prevents the film from ever taking off.  First and foremost, we don't get enough of Michelle Darnell when she's at her worst in power.  It's an all-too-brief period that makes Darnell a rapper instead of a light version of Miranda Priestly.  Things don't get better when Darnell is arrested.  To focus on our star doing and saying inappropriate things around schoolgirls, the script leaves a comedic goldmine sitting off camera in the prospect of Melissa McCarthy in jail, especially as this “bossy” character.  Finally, the remainder of the script for The Boss is just too silly and wastes the comedic talents on hand.

The rest of McCarthy's fellow cast members are pretty underwhelming as well.  I love Kristen Bell, but she's pretty bland as Claire.  She's much better on screen when she's able to give as much as she takes.  As this frumpy down on her luck executive assistant, Bell just doesn't get the job done.  The other major supporting player is Peter Dinklage as competing business mogul Renault.  Overwhelmingly silly and devoid of any humor whatsoever, his performance really misses the mark.  With Dinklage in the role of the antagonist, there was a real opportunity to serve up a true counterpoint to McCarthy who could trade barbs with her to our benefit.  That opportunity certainly does not materialize in The Boss.  Finally, supporting performances from Margo Martindale, Kathy Bates, and others don't leave a significant imprint on the film.

Melissa McCarthy's latest comedy vehicles boasts star power but not much else.  Largely lacking laughs, The Boss gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few mojitos with this one.