The Boss – Review (* 1/2)

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Less Spy, more Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy’s latest “comedy” vehicle is another depressingly mean-spirited, unfunny waste of her talents, one likely to test the patience of even her most ardent devotees.

When self-made woman Michelle Darnelle (McCarthy) is sent to jail for insider trading, she emerges and decides to help her former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) build an empire out of her small chocolate brownie business. However, she’s faced with opposition by not only a rival girl scout group, but also a former colleague she screwed over (Peter Dinklage).

Though there was certainly ripe potential for The Boss to riff on the general societal disdain for people like Michelle Darnelle, and the bubble within which white-collar crime exists, McCarthy’s husband and the movie’s director, Ben Falcone, mostly opts for crude one-liners, slapstick gags and genuinely laughless insult humour.

There’s countless scenes where McCarthy falls over or is otherwise physically punished, there’s a horrifying scene where Michelle insults a dead woman and we’re apparently meant to find this funny, and worst of all, the movie expects us to like this person by the end of 99 mostly agonising minutes.

If McCarthy’s talents being squandered isn’t bad enough, Kristen Bell is pretty much a deer in headlight for the entire movie, and Peter Dinklage’s role isn’t much more than an extended cameo, peppered throughout the film so it seems like he’s in it longer than he actually is. He gives a rare suspect turn here, and between this and last year’s Pixels, isn’t suggesting a particularly warm home for him in the blockbuster arena.

Overall it’s just incredibly dull, formulaic nonsense with little satirical bite and perhaps only one truly memorable scene (a fairly amusing, Anchorman-style scuffle between the two girl scout groups). You’ll wonder why anyone greenlit it beyond McCarthy’s undeniable box office pull, and why the likes of Dinklage and Kathy Bates bothered to appear in it. Hopefully it paid for a nice yacht or penthouse. Next to this, Tammy is a masterpiece.

* 1/2

The Boss is in US cinemas now and UK cinemas June 10th

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