Universal Pictures 99 minutes R
Melissa McCarthy is a pretty, funny lady. She was hilarious in Bridesmaids playing opposite her husband, Ben Falcone, and even more funny with Sandra Bullock in Heat. McCarthy became an action hero in Spy , but this is not her best effort. She and her husband, wrote a film where the comedy seems forced. This is also his first time as a Director.
McCarthy says her Michelle Darnell character was birthed 14 or more years ago when she and Falcone were part of the improv comedy troupe, The Groundlings, in LA. She says this is pretty much the same lady.
McCarthy looks great in the movie, slimmed down, wearing beautiful, flattering clothes and perfect makeup to go along with her billionaire money-making motivational speaker character. She’s always got a turtle neck up to her chin as part of the costume and that looks weird. It’s distracting. The rich Darnell gets into financial trouble and ends up in prison but, even though she’s supposed to be broke, she comes out looking better and better dressed than before. Really?
Darnell is like some rich iconic figures already in the marketplace. She plays a little like Martha Stewart, Suzy Orman, and Donald Trump rolled into one. (Fun to see the letters D-A-R-N-E-L-L instead of TRUMP on his tower in downtown Chicago. There is a lot of attention to those kinds of details in this film, but it’s not enough to sell the raunchy premise.)
Darnell is totally self-involved when she goes to the slammer. Her personal assistant, Claire, played by Kristen Bell, has to quit and find a real job so she can take care of her daughter, Rachel, played by Ella Anderson. Darnell shows up on her sofa post prison and makes both of their lives miserable until she messes up Rachel’s Girl Scout meeting yelling profanities at the leader, parents and the kids. It becomes a brawl. She comes up with a hair-brained scheme to create a brownie business to compete with the troop’s sale of cookies. Pretty lame, but an excuse to call it war, be really gross, swear in front of the kids and have an all out street fight. McCarthy says she was always apologizing profusely to the kids and parents for the language and more between takes. Maybe she should apologize to the audience as well.
It’s ironic that she goes into he brownie business, because we just went back into a brownie business ourselves recently. Close to home, but that didn’t help us like the movie. But we digress.
In addition to the fights and silly antics between Michelle, Claire and Rachel, Michelle’s old flame, Renault, played by Peter Dinklage, gets into the mix. The Game of Thrones actor plays a guy who’s still thinks Michelle is hot. If he can’t have her, he might have to kill her. He’s the bad buy.
Dinklage says he loved doing comedy with McCarthy and with she and Falcone’s material. He says they are “constantly bringing in new lines. It’s like riding a wave….spit balling ideas. A great way to work. I really love it.” Too bad, because this film is really a waste of his talent, comedic and otherwise.
Kristen Bell says she, too, had fun with McCarthy and being a foil for the jokes. “It is entertaining to work for McCarthy and to pretend to work for her in the movie.” But when the comedian starts bouncing Bell’s boobs before her big date, it’s funny for a minute, but she doesn’t know when to quit.
One of the funnier scenes is when she has to paint whitener on McCarthy’s teeth. The prosthetic that stretches McCarthy’s mouth to the max while she keeps talking is hilarious. Bell says it was hard to get through because she was trying to get McCarthy to break and it wasn’t working. Again, the disturbing visual of her trying to talk through bared teeth gets laughs at first, but becomes a stretch.
Is this worth your bucks? There are a few funny moments, like when McCarthy is flung against the wall from the sofa bed. But the premise is weak. She and Falcone may be bosses of comedy, but we think they both can make a movie that holds together better. Stay for the outtakes during the credits, if you get that far. Some of those are funnier than what’ you get from the rest of The Boss.