Boss tosses it away
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.