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Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Boss 2016 * 1/2 Stars

The BossDirector: Ben Falcone
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage

Melissa McCarthy is a successful comedic actress. Her films make a ton of money and she's been nominated for an Oscar. I'm happy for the girl but in my opinion, she hasn't been humorous in a movie since 2011's Bridesmaids (of which she got said Oscar nom). Melissa has become the female Vince Vaughn being that she plays the same character type and bemoans the same tired mannerisms in all of her projects. She has also become the female Chris Farley. The only difference is that her aptitude of physical comedy doesn't have any payoffs or a means to an end. When McCarthy falls down the stairs in The Boss (my latest review), it's not justified and it feels like it was never supposed to happen. When she lays down on a fold out bed and it hurls her against a wall (also featured in "Boss"), it doesn't register as plausible. All these shenanigans seem just for show you know. And as I sat in theater, I kinda wish The Boss could've been a fine-tuned documentary about Bruce Springsteen instead. Fat chance on that.

Edited in a slipshod manner by Craig Alpert (he chopped Ride Along and The Sitter), taking place in Chicago with a lazy, pedestrian-like use of its locales, and containing a scene in which the leads pet each other's breasts for three minutes straight (excruciating), "Boss" is not even offensively funny. It's just plain offensive. Case in point: When I see a grown woman character close-lining a childlike, female character during a girl scout gang brawl, I cringe in revulsion. And when I see the same grown woman character shove cookies into another character's panted keister, well I just wanna hurl.

The story is as follows: Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) was a troublesome young girl. She was shuffled mind you from foster home to foster home. Cut to present day and she's now the 47th wealthiest woman in America. After a tip to police from her rival businessman (Renault played by 4 foot 5 inch Peter Dinklage), Darnell is arrested for insider trading and sentenced to a few months in prison. When she gets out, she is penniless, asset-free, without friends, and pretty much homeless. Michelle Darnell's solution: Move in with her former assistant (Claire Rawlins played by Kristen Bell) and eventually start a brownie-making empire with Claire and her cookie troop daughter (Rachel Rawlins played by Ella Anderson). Throughout "Boss", there's plenty of suggestive language, mean-spiritedness, and uncomfortable references to lesbianism. Ah, you gotta love the citizens via the "City of the Big Shoulders".

Now The Boss is helmed by Melissa McCarthy's real-life husband, Ben Falcone. He also shot McCarthy's 2014 vehicle, Tammy. I have yet to see Tammy but if it's anywhere near as bad as "Boss", well Falcone should never be allowed to venture behind the camera again (at least for the sake of his wife's future endeavors). His direction here feels rushed and sort of pasted together. He obviously can't work with a script supervisor because segments in "Boss" tend to go on too long with infertile background completely evaporating. There are also gaps in the film's 100-minute running time where he relies heavily on location shots of Chicago aerials or a Chicago-based burrito restaurant (I guess that's where Claire's apartment was located). It's the type of innovation that only a mother or Ed Wood could love. In truth, if Falcone wants to be in his wife's movies, then fine (I'm sure his many cameos are stipulated in her contract). He just shouldn't be able to direct. That needs to be nipped in the bud right away.

As for "Boss's" attenuated screenplay (penned by Falcone, McCarthy, and Steve Mallory), well it didn't feel like their was one. This flick is about the trading of securities, entrepreneurship, and the emergence of a self-made woman. However, the interplay between the troupers came off as though no one did any research on these subjects. During The Boss with its twisted innuendos, its sense of cringing fantasy, and its morbid sense of hilarity, I had no idea what McCarthy's Darnell did for a living, no idea what kind of job Kristin Bell's Claire had, and no idea how Peter Dinklage's antagonistic Renault became so rich. What we're left with as an audience, is improvised, uninsightful, not to mention grating dialogue from mediocre actors (McCarthy for the moment, is excluded and Bell could do better than this thankless role). I mean was there no one on set to consult Falcone, McCarthy, or Mallory on the ins and outs of CEO compartmentalization (or anything Martha Stewart went through)? Guess not. The opening sequence in "Boss" has Melissa's Michelle Darnell making an appearance at Chicago's famed, United Center. She comes down on a phoenix and basically says, "I'm the wealthiest woman in America" and "do you wanna make some f**cking money!" Heck, a second grader with a 'C' average could have written those lines.

Bottom line: With almost no laughs, a persona created by Melissa McCarthy that is pretty much unlikable, and a vision of her cloaked in turtle necks in nearly every single scene, The Boss as a movie, is insubordinate (no pun intended). Rating: 1 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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