InReview InReview

Support independent journalism

Film & TV

Film review: The Boss

Film & TV

This slapstick comedy starring Melissa McCarthy may push the boundaries of humour.

Comments Print article

The latest goofball comedy starring slap-stick comedian, Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy), as business shark, Michelle Darnelle, was clearly inspired by the woes of Martha Stuart who spent time in jail for insider trading.

The Boss, which also stars Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Frozen) as Claire, Darnelle’s straight-laced single mum assistant, and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as Darnelle’s psychopathic ex, hell-bent on taking everything she has, isn’t particularly complicated.

Darnelle is a business mogul, right down to the helmet hair, power-dressing and ridiculously high necklines, who goes to jail for insider trading. When she gets out, she finds her empire is gone and no-one wants to know her. The only person soft enough to stick by her is Claire and after Darnelle moves in with her and her daughter Rachael, Darnelle devises her way back to the top —through a girl scout, brownie movement.

The enjoyment in this movie comes from the character of Darnelle — she’s brassy, inappropriate, foul-mouthed and falls down a lot— against the foil of Claire who just wants to be a good mum and provide for her child, the pairing does work well. One particularly memorable scene involves the two in a kind of ‘boob boxing bag’ gag. Dinklage is also excellent as Ronald, now ‘Renault’, the ex she rejected 25 years ago and in so doing, created a mortal enemy. ‘Renault’ has his own empire, thinks he’s a Japanese warrior, and is suitably psychopathically creepy. A sublimely ridiculous scene sees him and Darnelle in a Samurai sword fight atop a skyscraper.

While The Boss was funny and watchable overall, it kind of lands in middle-of-the-road territory. It seems a bit ‘genre confused’, at times trying to push the emotive character baggage angle, at others the pure slapstick (McCarthy does fall down quite a lot) and at others still, the purely ridiculous. The slapstick was a bit over the top in places, though, and kind of inappropriate. Maybe it’s cultural, but is a bunch of girl guides and their mums getting into a hugely physical punch-up really that funny, or just a bit cringe-worthy? Likewise with the jokes about sexuality, ‘fatism’ and disability — easy targets that are tired and not particularly smart, innovative humour.

If you’re a McCarthy fan, you’ll know what to expect — basically more of the same. It’s enjoyable, but not must-see hilarity. Go see The Boss if you want a dose of foul-mouthed funny one-liners, fat people bouncing off things and Tyrion Lannister trying to conquer the western trading world.

Make a comment View comment guidelines

Support local arts journalism

Your support will help us continue the important work of InReview in publishing free professional journalism that celebrates, interrogates and amplifies arts and culture in South Australia.

Donate Here


Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

. You are free to republish the text and graphics contained in this article online and in print, on the condition that you follow our republishing guidelines.

You must attribute the author and note prominently that the article was originally published by InReview.  You must also inlude a link to InReview. Please note that images are not generally included in this creative commons licence as in most cases we are not the copyright owner. However, if the image has an InReview photographer credit or is marked as “supplied”, you are free to republish it with the appropriate credits.

We recommend you set the canonical link of this content to to insure that your SEO is not penalised.

Copied to Clipboard

More Film & TV stories

Loading next article