Film review: It's not worth working for this dismal Boss

Matt Adcock reviews The Boss, starring Melissa McCarthy

Monday, 13th June 2016, 8:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 5:12 pm
Undated Film Still Handout from The Boss. Pictured: Kristen Bell as Claire Rawlings and Melissa McCarthy as Michelle Darnell. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Hopper Stone/Universal. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews. NNL-160806-101427001 NNL-160806-101427001

Here we have a film about a loud, lewd and loathsome American. This an unpleasant ‘comedy’ about Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy). Darnell is a self-made business success story, running several companies and crushing all who oppose her – with no time for others thanks to her painful foster-home childhood where she was rejected by many families.

‘The Boss’ however falls from grace due to some insider trading, and loses everything. After surviving some white collar jail time, she’s forced to rely on the kindness of her one-time loyal assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) who puts her up on the couch. Claire’s savvy young daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson), warms to Darnell – which feels a bit forced as she’s so very hateable – but it’s a necessary plot point. Even though she traumatizes the little girl by showing her The Texas Chainsaw Massacre whilst babysitting (the clips of that horror flick are the best bits in this film, alas).

From then on the film switches to a terrible entrepreneur-em-up as Darnell starts her own version of Girl Guides in order to sell Claire’s brownies and make mucho money. Cue unfunny and cringe-worthy scene after scene of McCarthy hamming it up and the rest of the cast looking a bit aghast.

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The Boss had the potential to be feelgood laugh-out-loud comedy but it fails in every area. The limited ‘comedy’ moments are either inappropriate for a film where most of the cast are girls under 12, or just not funny – special shame should go to Peter ‘Game of Thrones’ Dinklage who plays Renault (a business rival – not the car). In a climactic scene that literally beggars belief Darnell and Renault engage in an unfunny sword fight, which alas does not end with the Game of Thrones levels of death or violence…

Nothing seems to work very well, the jokes flop or raise groans, the slapstick violence and mugging to the camera is amusing in small doses but it gets tired very quickly. What’s worse is that McCarthy is a talented actress who gives it her all but the character she’s playing, the plot of the film and the dialogue actively work against her leaving The Boss to be one of the most dismal cinematic experiences of the year so far.