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Same, Old Funny McCarthy in “The Boss”

Darnell takes her "Darlings" on a trip around the neighborhood, selling Claire's famous brownies. PHOTO/ www.pannedreview.com
Darnell takes her “Darlings” on a trip around the neighborhood, selling Claire’s famous brownies. PHOTO/ www.pannedreview.com

By Jamie Deliz

Published: April 20th, 2016

“The Boss” can be described in just a few words: funny, heart-felt, and a bit unoriginal… but, funny, either way.

You may know Melissa McCarthy from “Gilmore Girls,” the box office success, “Tammy,” and her most-noted film with several “Saturday Night Live” stars, “Bridesmaids.” Now, she stars in “The Boss,” which she wrote alongside husband and director, Ben Falcone.

The film also stars Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Kathy Bates, Cecily Strong, Ella Anderson and Tyler Labine.

McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, the mogul-turned-felon who’s just trying to get back on her feet. It sort of has a Martha Stewart ring to it, doesn’t it? It does; right down to the brownies she and former assistant and single mother, Claire (Bell), make for their new business “Darnell’s Darlings.”

Growing up, Darnell bounced from foster home to orphanage, and back again, and was later mentored by Ida Marquette (Bates), who instilled in her that there is basically no such thing as family. But, of course, she understands the true meaning of family at the end, even if it isn’t blood-related.

Harboring this mentality, and used to getting her own way, she succeeds in becoming one of the top investors in the country, ranking in the top 50 richest women, as well. However, all of that goes down the toilet once her vengeful ex-lover, Renault (“Ronald”), rats her out for insider trading—which was revenge for sabotaging him twenty years ago. After being locked up, she shamelessly decides to live with Claire and her daughter, Rachel (Anderson), for a few months. Claire was by Darnell’s side, but was often taken for granted due to Darnell’s “know-it-all” attitude and sense of entitlement. Of course, Darnell, Claire, and Rachel become one big, happy family. As if you couldn’t figure that one out already.

After months of sulking on the couch, jobless, Claire decides that Darnell should do something with her life. So, one, fine day, Darnell takes Rachel to her fictional Girl Scout-type meeting, and that’s where it all begins. Seeing that the “Daises,” as the scouts are called, is a complete joke, Darnell decides to take action, and it leads to something even bigger.

She goes back to her old, entrepreneurial-self, hatching the idea of selling Claire’s brownies, with hopes of going global. Darnell recruits Rachel and her fellow scouts, as well as some new ones. It takes Claire some convincing, like reminding her of how much she hates her job and her terrible boss, Dana Dandridge (Strong), who is a huge fan of Darnell. Go figure.

In true McCarthy form, she shines. McCarthy showcases her slapstick through the ultimate girl fight on the street, her petty argument with the mother at the meeting, her falling down a flight of stairs, and her being thrown against a wall by a broken futon. Although we’ve seen this repeatedly, it’s funny, nonetheless.

McCarthy also isn’t afraid to use offensive comedy. Telling somebody that their dead wife is a whore isn’t offensive, right? Those cringe-worthy moments were the funniest. One would expect that the typical “foot-in-mouth” moment is enough; for example, “How’s your wife doing?” “My wife’s dead.” But, no, McCarthy takes it even a step further.

Darnell, thinking Claire went against her, decides to hand over “Darnell’s Darlings” to Renault, and soon realizes that she messed up. However, they decide to get the contract back by sneaking into Renault’s office.

The final scenes involving the fight between Darnell and Renault involved an actual sword fight. No, seriously. One could only imagine the visuals: Dinklage and McCarthy fighting with swords…and later making out. The whole “using-your-words-like-swords” was taken literally, which was probably the most interesting scene in the entire film.

Dinklage and McCarthy’s chemistry on-screen was unexpected, but fun to watch. Although Dinklage’s performance was a bit forced, I can’t see anyone else play the pretentious “Renault,” originally “Ronald” from Jersey.

What viewers should appreciate is the fact that McCarthy has created an outspoken businesswoman who isn’t afraid to get what she wants. In the end, she finally realizes her mistakes, and apologizes for them.

McCarthy is consistent in making funny, sometimes-stupid films, but, regardless, her portrayal of Darnell is undoubtedly hilarious, and one of her bests. However, some of her jokes were a bit old, which led to some awkward moments as well, hence the silence that filled the theater. McCarthy is at her best when she overacts, fights, and gets down and dirty.

Although McCarthy has created these outlandish characters, I’m waiting for a comedy that involves a little bit of something else; and I think we’ll see that in the new “Ghostbusters” film this summer, starring Kristen Wig, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth.

“The Boss” not something that should be called “Movie of the Year,” but it’s definitely a film fit for those random nights out with friends.

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