Film review: ‘LIKE A BOSS’, by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

The ‘women behaving badly’ comedy has become a cinema staple in recent years with some successfully raucous entries such as Bad Moms and the pinnacle of the genre, Bridesmaids, providing genuine laughs and at least some insights into the social pressures placed on women. Unfortunately, the lame, predictable and barely amusing Like a Boss which stars Rose Byrne, comedian Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek is not in their league.

In yet another ‘innocent goofballs versus corporate meanie’ plot, best friends Mel (Rose Byrne) and Mia (Tiffany Haddish) find their small make-up business in danger of going under when they fall hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt. Their only hope of staying afloat is a partnership with flamboyant cosmetics mogul Claire Luna (Salma Hayek). Clearly, Mia and Mel haven’t watched enough business-related Hollywood comedies because just about anyone could tell them that Claire plans to shaft them. With a campaign of manipulation and bullying tactics, Claire soon drives a wedge between the compliant people-pleaser Mel and feisty cynical Mia which threatens to end their partnership and their business for good.

After a reasonably amiable start this film descends into a dull morass of clichés, unlikely hijinks, misfiring gags and eventually a thuddingly predictable conclusion. The film occasionally attempts ribald humour but that just ends up being crass and unfunny. Devoid of wit the script mostly relies on insults, juvenile references to genitalia and bodily functions and unconvincing slapstick.

Not only does the comedy arrive stillborn but the limp, unconvincing story and characters mean the attempts at celebrating female strength and friendship flatline.

The fact that credible stars like Selma Hayek and Rose Byrne are in this film initially creates the illusion that we’re watching something with a shred of substance but once that mirage fades, we’re left with the fact that this is a dud and that some fine actors are badly demeaning themselves. Admittedly, Rose Byrne occasionally musters some of her typical charm and Tiffany Haddish is at times likeably ballsy and street smart but their given almost nothing to work with here. It’s particularly painful to watch Jennifer Coolidge, who plays Mel and Mia’s shop assistant, try to make something of the gormless character and witless nonsensical lines she’s been handed here.

Comedy is possibly the hardest film genre to pull off but we should always expect something better than this depressingly unfunny effort.

Nick’s rating: *1/2

Genre: Comedy.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Miguel Arteta.

Release date: 23rd Jan 2020.

Running time: 83 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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