She did it again! Arguably the best comedian around, Melissa McCarthy maintains her status in The Boss.
The movie starts with the backstory of Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy), showing the reason behind her stifled family issues with an inability to put down her guard and let people in who actually care about her. She makes the decision to win, not needing anyone but herself. Life is good until Darnell goes to federal prison for insider trading, humorously fighting on her way into the police car. Once released, she is left homeless and without money or anyone looking out for her. Not to worry, as Darnell finds her way back to her former personal assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell). Not left with much of a choice, the former assistant takes the boss in, providing a place for her to stay only until Darnell gets back on her feet. After one trip to Rachel’s girl scouts meeting and one hostile encounter with micromanaging mom Helen (Annie Mumolo), Darnell realizes the capital potential of Claire’s family recipe brownies, and quickly gets both Claire and Rachel on board to help, soon recruiting members of Rachel’s old scout group, the Dandelions.
As all comedies go, there are some big bumps in the road. Darnell’s Darlings take to the neighborhood to sell, sell, sell, while the Dandelions led by Helen show up and declare their territory. This means war! An action-packed, slapstick fight scene erupts and the boss reclaims her title, leaving Helen with some chocolate chip clusters in places they should never be. From a teeth-whitening scene that could have lasted the whole movie and would still have been funny to a familial McCarthy delivery of insults, The Boss matches McCarthy’s previous works like Tammy, Bridesmaids, and The Heat.
Although we receive the backstory of Darnell’s fury-filled love affair with Renault (Peter Dinklage), which is very funny, the girl-scout battle could have been carried out more throughout the movie. It sets itself up for war between these new rivals, but then turns into a really personal narrative for Darnell. I know McCarthy’s work always turns into a heartfelt confrontation but by the end returns to its humorous nature. However, although it pains me to say anything oppositional towards my favorite comedic writers, McCarthy and Falcone could possibly have done a little better with the script’s fluidity. We get a little bit of her past, a bit of her romance with Renault, and a set-up for battle between scout groups. I just wish that battle was carried out a little further.
But like most of McCarthy’s work, we can excuse the discontinuities because let’s face it, how many genuinely funny movies are out there today? She truly is THE BOSS. And yes, The Boss does make girl scouts look like a money-sucking business where little kids play the pity act to sell cookies. But c’mon, who hasn’t thought that about girl scouts. You will read some reviews attacking this movie for its aggression towards girls, but compared to some of the other recent and truly distasteful comedies out there, The Boss wins by a landslide.