By Michael Kaye
The Boss (Review)
I wasn't originally going to see this movie today, but since I insist on following the careers of everyone involved in my most anticipated films of the year, I gave in and said "why not?" If nothing else, I can just use this review as an excuse to expand upon a rant I posted on Facebook a couple nights ago on Melissa McCarthy and her career moving forward. I can't wait to see her re-team with director Paul Feig in the Ghostbusters reboot, but first, we need to talk about the latest passion project from her and her husband Ben Falcone, The Boss.
Here's the story, based on one of McCarthy old characters from her Groundlings days. A titan of industry is sent to prison after she's caught for insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America's latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.
This movie frustrates me! On the one hand, it accomplishes the ridiculously easy task of being better than Tammy, Falcone's directorial debut. However, it's still not a good movie, but I'm settling for an average rating because it did deliver on the laughs, and I laughed hard! I don't think this deserves a full review, but I am gonna expand on the points that I made in that Facebook post, and try to figure out which career path works best for Melissa McCarthy.
The Boss feels disjointed, like McCarthy and Falcone took two half-completed scripts and made a cinematic Frankenstein. One of those movies is a PG-rated family film about a single mother and her former boss building a brownie empire in order to make a steady income and put her kid through college. The other film is a raunchy comedy about a former titan of industry getting building herself up after an old flame/business rival took everything from her. I can see how these are kind of similar, but they really don't mesh well together. The Good news is the film is packed with a handful of great comedic set pieces, and everyone in the cast is game for whatever is thrown their way. This is Melissa McCarthy's best performance in a comedy not directed by Paul Feig, and she's backed by a great supporting cast, including Kristen Bell, Ella Anderson, Peter Dinklage, Kathy Bates, Tyler Labine, and so many others! There are even a few heartwarming moments thrown in every once in a while. But when this movie fails, it fails HARD! You could have cut out the whole subplot with Dinklage and his evil scheme to take over the brownie kitchen and this movie would have been much tighter. Overall, I will say it is an improvement over Falcone's last film, but he's still got miles to go before he can join the major leagues of comedy.
Ok, now that we got that taken care of, what direction should Melissa McCarthy's career take moving forward? Well, the way I see it, she can take two paths:
1. Stick to comedy, but only if she's surrounded by top notch talent. In my original post, I insisted that only Paul Feig can bring out the best in her, because otherwise her comedy just isn't working. After finally seeing this movie, I'd like to amend what my first point. The problem with her has never been about her acting, cause I think she's always been a very talented actress, both on TV and in movies. No, the problem is the material she's working with, and I don't think Ben Falcone is doing her any favors. Fortunately, McCarthy has brought on Will Farrell and Adam McKay to produce The Boss, and you can sort of feel their fingerprints throughout the film, for better or for worse. Now that's a step in the right direction, cause it shows that she's willing to collaborate with people to make the best film possible, and I want her to keep working with talent at this level.
2. Broaden her horizons. The common complaint about her comedies is that she "plays the same character" in every movie. I don't agree, but I can at least understand where these criticisms are coming from. Maybe if she took some time off away from leading roles and stayed in the background as a supporting character, she'll be able to win back the audience that fell in love with her in the first place, notably on shows like Gilmore Girls and Mike and Molly. And I'm not just talking about comedies, she's surprisingly excellent in dramas like St. Vincent, and I wanna see more roles like that.
Overall, I like Melissa McCarthy and I wanna see her talents continue to improve in the future. I refuse to ever jump on the hatewagon, shouting "BLARGH, SHE SUCKS AT EVERYTHING," because that's just not my style. I'm the Film Avenger dammit, and when I see quality talent like Melissa McCarthy, I don't want to see it wasted on anything that isn't her absolute best! Now this is the fun part, where you guys in the comment section can gang up on me and tell me how much you hate my taste in movies. In all seriousness, I genuinely wanna hear your thoughts on this. Did you see the Boss this weekend, and how do you feel about Melissa McCarthy as an actress? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned for more content!