MOVIE OF THE WEEK (4/8/16): THE BOSS

"You think I look crazy? You should have seen what happened the last time I had a taco salad!" Orphan-turned-entrepreneur Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) gets some help with her teeth whitening ritual from her assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) in a scene from co-writer/director/McCarthy's husband Ben Falcone's comedy THE BOSS. Credit: Hopper Stone. © 2015 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE: 



KEY CAST MEMBERS: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Kathy Bates, Tyler Labine, Ella Anderson, Cecily Strong , Annie Mumolo, Kristen Schaal, Timothy Simons and Eva Peterson


WRITER(S): Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory and Melissa McCarthy


DIRECTOR(S): Ben Falcone 

WEB SITE: http://www.thebossfilm.com/

60 SECOND PLOT SUMMARY (OR AS CLOSE TO THAT TIME AS ONE CAN MAKE IT): Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) had it rough growing up in Illinois. Abandoned/orphaned by her parents in her youth, Michelle has overcome her rough upbringing to become the 47th wealthiest woman in America. Now a powerhouse  as the CEO of three various companies, Michelle is on top of the world. Her success hasn't made life an easier for Claire (Kristen Bell), Michelle's top assistant, the Smithers to her Mr. Burns who is also a single mother to Rachel (Ella Anderson), a nice young girl who spends most of her free time with her Dandelions youth troop.

Then her former lover and top rival Renault – a.k.a. Ron (Peter Dinklage) – gets her busted for insider trading, which lands her in federal prison for 5 months and her empire in shambles.

Now with nowhere else to go, Michelle comes looking for refuge at the home of her former assistant, who reluctantly agrees to take her in until she can get back on her feet. But as one might expect, going from the penthouse to the proverbial outhouse of Claire's tiny two-bedroom apartment. But Michelle is a woman with grit, determination and a never take "no" for an answer attitude, so once she sees an opportunity to re-establish herself, she is ready to seize it – even if that means shaking up Claire and Rachel's world to no end.

And that's because she's the boss – and a boss does what a boss has to do to stay on top.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Melissa McCarthy fans; people who enjoy watching children – and to lesser extent, adults – behave inappropriately for their age; people who enjoy movies where the nice guy gets a break; people who like movies with characters that, while they may not be well-developed, are fun

WHO WON'T (OR SHOULDN'T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People that will find Peter Dinklage and/or his character creepy; Anyone who doesn't find likable characters enough to carry the film's rather ludicrous third act; people who believe that McCarthy (whether fairly or unfairly) tends to play the same type of characters, anyone who hates when Saturday Night Live sketches seem to run on too long. 

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? A movie with some really likable characters that aren't exactly placed into a great movie all the time, The Boss is entertaining enough to be forgiven for its shortcomings ... Which is why at times it feels like an overly long SNL sketch.

McCarthy is very good at playing characters who appear to be one thing but have a little more going on underneath the surface than one might think at first glance. The Boss continues that streak by adding layers to her character, who is all bluster at first before a more sensitive side is eventually revealed. However, given how Dinklage was either asked or chose to play his character in ridiculously creepy fashion, you might find yourself unsettled or at the very least a little freaked out at times and not so much comedically as McCarthy's husband/co-writer/director Ben Falcone intended. I'm sure the creative team of the McCarthy. Falcone and Steven Mallory were thinking of a Zoolander- or Anchorman-like level comedic foil for McCarthy, but ... Nah, it just doesn't always come off that way. 

Likewise, Bell is capable at playing the straight woman to McCarthy's antics as her character is supposed to be a dull single mom ... And MAN does she nail it almost to the point where you care about everyone around her more than her. She's too much of the straightwoman at times, which in turn makes you feel her pain way too much. She's not bad; it's just that her character has no value on her own and is only best when paired with McCarthy's or Tyler Labine as her co-worker/potential would be love interest. While we know everyone around Claire is having fun, it gets to a point where EVERYONE but Claire is having fun.

Fortunately, McCarthy has enough to gumption to keep things moving along and both the supporting and younger cast really shine in the lunatic situations in which they are placed. The aforementioned Labine is terrific in representing the everyman who works in a boring job and is a nice guy who deserves better while never coming off as a lovable loser and McCarthy's female co-stars – Kristen Schaal, Cecily Strong and Annie Mumolo bring a lot of the party as zany/over-the-top sparring partners for McCarthy, Mumolo especially as a would be power mom of an ambitious girl scout-type. (Eva Peterson plays a scary, foul-mouthed teenage girl about as well as you can comedically, so The Boss could be a start of a nice career for her.)

In short, The Boss is entertaining at its best – there's a rumble sequence that's phenomenal – but it's far fro a perfect film by any means. Dinklage's character is supposed to be over-the-top, but whether or not you find it funny or just dumb remains to be seen. Likewise, there are a lot of lulls between the funny moments and some are much funnier than others, so depending on your attention level you may find the boss somewhere between "good" to "just okay" on your entertainment scale. 

If nothing else, The Boss will serve as a nice palate cleanser to anyone who has found spring's early offerings at the theaters to be a bit ... Well, not suitable for full-time employment. 

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

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