The Boss Review
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Last year, Melissa McCarthy surprised audiences and critics alike with her fun-filled action comedy, Spy. Now, for The Boss, her latest collaboration with husband, director, and co-writer Ben Falcone, she returns to more of her usual comic style—albeit with a somewhat toned-down twist.

In her latest comic adventure, McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, a powerful mogul who made up for her troubled childhood by becoming a successful business owner and motivational speaker. But when her bitter business rival, Renault (Peter Dinklage), gets her arrested for insider trading, she loses both her entire empire and her reputation. Forced to live off the kindness of her former assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), Michelle hits rock bottom—until she comes up with a new business model that promises to put her back on top.

Melissa McCarthy typically plays the same character—one who’s loud and sloppy and obnoxious. But Michelle Darnell isn’t really McCarthy’s usual character. Sure, she’s still loud. She’s still pretty obnoxious. And she’s still short on redeeming qualities. But, this time, she at least has some brains to back up the bluster. She’s a strong, educated woman who pays attention to her own appearance (though she wears way too many turtlenecks).

In the beginning, then, the film seems to show some promise—just a glimmer of hope that it will be more than the same old shtick. But is isn’t long before McCarthy falls back on the slapstick silliness and the rude, over-confident, and often mean-spirited old ways. Granted, Michelle’s difficult childhood gives her a little bit of humanity—a reason for her behavior. But that doesn’t really make up for the fact that she’s selfish and mean and often inappropriate—even if she isn’t quite as over-the-top as usual. So it falls on Claire to give the film its likability—and, fortunately, Bell handles the job well.

The majority of the comedy here takes on one of two forms: either Michelle’s horrible treatment of others (often using inappropriate language in front of children) or her tendency to fall down or run into things. It is good for a few laughs—more laughs than the average Melissa McCarthy comedy, in fact—but it’s far from a smart comedy.

The Boss is a mercifully toned-down Melissa McCarthy movie. The character is slightly more polished, and the humor isn’t quite as off the wall. It isn’t nearly as entertaining as Spy, but fans of McCarthy’s brainless mix of shocking and slapstick will still enjoy it.

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