The Boss (2016)

(Video on Demand, July 2016) Five years after her breakout role in Bridesmaid, Melissa McCarthy has become an authentic movie star, to the level where she’s able to put together her own vanity projects. The Boss couldn’t be any more purely McCarthy, revolving around a character she created, co-written by her husband Ben Falcone (who also directs), and featuring her in a role that takes up most of the film. The result, on the other hand, may be too much McCarthy. While not a disaster, The Boss does feel meandering, overlong and curiously unfunny. While the structure of the script is conventional enough in a comic-underdog way, the rest of the film doesn’t come together. McCarthy’s character is unpleasant (although not as actively irritating as some of her previous roles), the jokes don’t reach for much and the surprises are few. Other players such as Kristen Bell and Peter Dinklage do their best to keep up, but this is the McCarthy show and while she’s OK as an actress, she gives herself no favours as a writer. Some bits work even then they feel familiar (such as the slow-motion girl scout fight sequence) while others just flop aimlessly. What’s unfortunate is that the McCarthy persona is fundamentally irritating, and pushing it too far ends up alienating viewers (See Identity Theft), while not taking advantage of it leads to boredom and restlessness. There’s an ideal balance to strike, but it’s not to be found in The Boss, which—at best—merely works as a run-of-the-mill comedy.

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