I saw The Boss for the first time last month. Bruce Springsteen. I saw The Boss, the film, today at the Reading Cinema. I had missed the screening, and since it was doing so well at the box office…I thought I’d catch it this afternoon. I felt both of them were too long. Springsteen played for 3 1/2 hours. Melissa McCarthy cursed and fell down for 90 minutes. I would’ve preferred 80 minutes less from each.
Now, each time McCarthy does a bad movie, I always talk about how funny she is but that she continues to do bad films. This is way better than Tammy, but that’s not saying much. That was one of the worst films of the year. This was slightly better, and it was also co-written by her husband Ben Falcone (who also directed). They brought in a friend from their Groundlings days — Steve Mallory — to also write some gags. Very few of them worked.
Things start off promising. We see Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) as a self-absorbed, motivational speaker/business tycoon. She’s always sporting a turtle neck that covers her neck (and in one of the rare smart decisions by the filmmakers, they never address this sight gag). After her former business partner/lover Peter Dinklage turns her in for insider trading, she loses everything. This means she has to move in with her former personal assistant (Kristen Bell). It’s the first of many unrealistic moments. The movie would’ve been so much better if the characters were realistic.
Just falling down stairs or having a Murphy bed throw McCarthy into a wall — not funny. Just having her walk into a Girl Scout meeting (errr…”Dandelions”) and start cursing — not funny.
Had they taken the premise of the “47th richest woman in the world” living with the middle-class…there could’ve been jokes there. That was an interesting part of Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen/Cate Blanchett). Falcone and McCarthy didn’t write any of these types of jokes, though. They thought just letting McCarthy riff and adlib would be enough. It wasn’t.
There were many slapstick gags that didn’t work, although I did smile a little when the Dandelions troupe of girls fight with the Darnell’s Brownies (or whatever they were called). How can you not chuckle when a wagon filled with cookies rolls by on fire?
There’s really nothing fresh here.
It was great seeing the funny Cedric Yarborough (Reno 911) as Tito, a yes man/bodyguard for Darnell. It’s always nice to see Kristen Schaal. She plays a meek woman running the Dandelions group.
Ella Anderson is perfectly cast as the daughter. It was smart not to make her too precocious.
Peter Dinklage is given a lot more to do, and he makes the most of it. My favorite scene has him trying a brownie on his private jet, with a knife and fork, and a glass of milk. Most audiences will probably like when he pulls a samurai sword on McCarthy. I wish somebody would’ve used that blade to chop some of the film. By the time it got to the closing credits and we get some bloopers, I was smiling. Not because the bloopers were so funny. I was just glad the movie was over.
It gets 1 1/2 stars out of 5.