“My brain finally gave up trying to fight the stupidity and pointlessness of it all”

by Rachel Wilford

The Boss was a bust. That’s as plainly as I can put it. I walked out of the theatre having essentially nothing to say about the film. There really just wasn’t anything to discuss; it was that lackluster. To be fair, it was not a terrible movie that deserves to be ripped to shreds but it really just had no life to it and it left zero impression. This film was definitely nowhere near Melissa McCarthy’s best.

The Boss begins with Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy), an orphan girl who gets adopted and returned to the orphanage multiple times. These experiences as a child propel Michelle to crave success and stardom and give her the drive to become a business tycoon on her own. Fast forward a few decades and we see Michelle as one of the richest women in America, basking in her fame and fortune. However, Michelle is soon arrested and incarcerated for illegal insider training, and after she gets out of prison, she is left with nothing. Michelle ends up sloughing it on Claire’s (Kristen Bell) couch, her ex-assistant, and befriends Claire’s young daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson). Eager to get back into the business world, Michelle helps Rachel build a Girl Scouts brownie empire and even ultimately finds herself a family.

The Boss
Directed by
Ben Falcone
Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage
Release Date
8 April 2016
Rachel’s Grade: C-

The plotline has a substantial amount of holes that the producers expect the audience to just accept and not think too much into. Michelle goes to prison for four months for her crime…but the film doesn’t show Michelle’s time in prison at all, which could have been fairly interesting and comical. The film also never goes into detail about Michelle’s crimes; she just keeps saying that she served time for “insider trading.” Sure, illegally trading stocks and bonds, that sounds legitimate. But wait, what actually is Michelle’s business anyway? We never really find out. The script very passively mentions that she is “the boss” of a few companies, but then just sort of moves on and expects the audience to just go with it. These details aren’t necessarily essential to the story, but they surely could have enhanced the believability of it all.

What the film really lacked though was cohesive humor. Watching little girls spew shockingly profane things in front of their mothers is rarely funny, it’s just aggressively distasteful. Listening to a crude, middle-aged woman spout inappropriate and vulgar comments to little girls isn’t amusing, it’s cringe-worthy.

During the first half of the movie, it’s as if the brain really does try hard to fight the film. It questions the plot and scoffs at the attempts at humor. But halfway through, I noticed myself laugh for the first time, and then a second time, and a third. Really, for the rest of the movie I was entertained, but quite possibly only because my brain finally gave up trying to fight the stupidity and pointlessness of it all. This is not a movie that requires any sort of thinking or promotes any sort of meaningful message; it most likely was just a whimsical project for Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone to work on together. And we can’t forget that Will Ferrell also joined in on the production fun as well. I can picture it now: the three of them intoxicated at some bar, giggling at all the ridiculous lines and ideas they came up with (and used) for this script.

All in all, The Boss was just very predictable and forgettable. A film that nearly beats the brain into submitting to its humor is not something anyone should surrender to.