Melissa McCarthy teams again with her real-life husband, Ben Falcone, and adding writer Steve Mallory to create "The Boss", directed by Falcone. Personally I think McCarthy is funnier in films written by others, like Paul Feig, who wrote and directed her in "Spy".
In "The Boss", McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, an unloved foster child turned business mogul. When she's imprisoned for insider trading then released, she's expecting a "Martha Stewart" type comeback, but no one wants anything to do with her.
The exceptions are Michelle's once-faithful, overworked, under-appreciated assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), and her sweet young daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson), who allow Michelle to encamp on their sofa. She's there until she can get her act together, but Michelle isn't exactly motivated until she accompanies Rachel to her troop meeting, and learns the value of cookie sales. Her idea for a new business means she must enlist Claire and Rachel while keeping her old nemesis, Renault (Peter Dinklage), at bay.
Though "The Boss" is not nearly as awful as "Tammy", her last collaboration with Falcone, it still lacks the necessary humor to make the movie worthwhile. The cast gives as much as humanly possible with the script given, and Dinklage really tries to be hilarious. It just doesn't work.
The best performance goes to Anderson who manages to outshine all of the adults. I love McCarthy --- I strongly believe she's better than this. If you really want to laugh, find "Spy" from last year. It's a much better film.
Opinion: Wait for DVD
Melissa McCarthy, looking slim-downed and pretty, has done it again. She's made another film that is hit-and-miss --- more the latter --- with just a modicum of genuine laughs. "The Boss" is nowhere the level of her most recent film, last year's "Spy", which provided consistent humor throughout.
Directed by hubby Ben Falcone, who also co-wrote the screenplay with his wife and first-timer Steve Mallory, "The Boss" has some very funny sight gags, but the dialogue is severely lacking. Although the trailer shows Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) getting thrown against a wall while sitting on a rigged sofa bed, it's still hilarious in the film.
Kristen Bell as Michelle's most-valued assistant, Claire, tries valiantly to play it straight, but it's obvious from the outtakes that the cast had more fun making the film than we had watching it. Peter Dinklage appears as Renault, an effeminate character totally opposite from his "Game of Thrones" persona. But playing Michelle's former lover is not up to his immense talent, so most of his scenes fall flat, as do brief appearances from stars like Kathy Bates and Cecily Strong.
The best in the cast is 11-year-old Ella Anderson as Claire's daughter Rachel. Her performance is natural and understated. I did like Michelle's verbal jousting with the snobby mother (Annie Mumolo, Oscar nominee for writing for "Bridesmaids") at Rachel's troop meetings.
Physical humor is where McCarthy sparkles, but there is not enough in this movie to satisfy. The greatest physical comedienne of all time, Lucille Ball, didn't rely on dialogue for laughs. Audiences loved her when she couldn't keep pace with chocolates on a conveyor belt, and they cackled at her facial grimacing and overall helplessness. I would like to see a Melissa McCarthy film with more sight gags and less spewing of profanity and bathroom-related references.
I can't say that "The Boss" is really a disappointment. Unfortunately, it's what we've come to expect from a McCarthy outing written by her and Falcone.
Opinion: Mild Wait for DVD