Boss tosses it away

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

THE BOSS (MA15+)

+Di­rec­tor: Ben Fal­cone (Tammy) Star­ring: Melissa McCarthy, Kris­ten Bell, Ella An­der­son, Peter Din­klage Ver­dict: A mixed bag of sack­able of­fences

WE are now far enough into the ca­reer of Melissa McCarthy to see that a pat­tern has clearly formed.

Her solo-star­ring com­edy ve­hi­cles can be filed away as ei­ther ba­si­cally bear­able (Spy, The Heat) or badly botched (Tammy, Iden­tity Thief).

Un­der this easy-to-use sys­tem, it doesn’t take long to work out where McCarthy’s lat­est ef­fort The Boss be­longs.

It is a stinker: a con­sis­tently sloppy and oc­ca­sion­ally mean af­fair that con­fuses its star’s abil­ity to try any­thing for a laugh with its au­di­ence’s will­ing­ness to laugh at ev­ery­thing she does.

While it won’t stand as McCarthy’s ab­so­lute worst movie to date, it never stops re­mind­ing you this pop­u­lar fun­ny­woman – a gifted phys­i­cal comic also blessed with ra­zor-sharp vo­cal tim­ing – is ca­pa­ble of much, much bet­ter.

The weird thing about The Boss is that it starts out with a premise that could have handed McCarthy her best role to date.

She plays Michelle Dar­nell, who is in­tro­duced at the start of The Boss as “the 47th rich­est woman in Amer­ica”.

Ms Dar­nell is a sin­gle, in­de­pen­dent and highly suc­cess­ful busi­ness guru, a highly skilled cor­po­rate raider who can also sell out a sta­dium spruik­ing her ad­vice to oth­ers.

There is enough comic po­ten­tial in the DNA of this char­ac­ter to take the movie in any num­ber of in­ter­est­ing and funny di­rec­tions.

Sadly, The Boss will not be pur­su­ing any of them. In­stead, the screen­play swiftly and ir­re­versibly re­duces Michelle to just another one of those dys­func­tional, dirty-talk­ing dolts McCarthy could play in her sleep.

Af­ter an in­sider-trad­ing sting and a sub­se­quent prison term leaves Michelle’s busi­ness em­pire in ruins, the only per­son left to help with a re­build is her long-suf­fer­ing per­sonal as­sis­tant Claire (Kris­ten Bell).

Michelle helps her­self to food and lodg­ing in Claire’s small apart­ment, and then finds her­self a new get­rich-quick-again scheme cour­tesy of Claire’s young daugh­ter, Rachel (Ella An­der­son).

What fol­lows from here is plenty of lamentably low-grade high-jinks con­cern­ing Michelle ex­ploit­ing some Girl Scout cookie-sell­ers to get her money-mak­ing mojo back.

The movie as a (barely) fin­ished prod­uct feels as if it has been bru­tally edited.

In­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters ap­pear briefly, then are never seen again. The plot fails to ob­serve any rules of logic, even when viewed as ab­surd com­edy.

Tellingly, and de­press­ingly, the exit point for many a sketchy scene is sim­ply McCarthy say­ing some­thing in­ap­pro­pri­ate in the com­pany of young chil­dren or bet­ter-be­haved adults.

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