Like a Boss Jan 10, 2020 23:44:49 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jan 10, 2020 23:44:49 GMT -5
Like a Boss (2020)
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne.
When a film opens with a character talking about getting "presidential dick" from Barack Obama, you know you're in for a rough ride.
For the following 83 minutes, Like a Boss limps along; a comedy with a shell of a plot and no idea where to take it or how to make it say something. Its most egregious offense is its flagrant unwillingness to recognize its potential as a commentary about women entrepreneurs. It's too busy having Tiffany Haddish make comments about her "coochie" and wasting the boundless charisma of Rose Byrne. A film with a gaggle of fun personalities should not be more insufferable than a bad sitcom.
The film plunges us into the workable yet dysfunctional friendship/business partnership of Mel (Byrne) and Mia (Haddish), two lifelong friends running a cosmetics shop. They're saddled with crippling debt, evidently because their model is built on bringing out the inner beauty of women as opposed to masking their flaws. Their business has essentially been usurped by companies capitalizing on the latter, such as Oviedo, a conglomerate run by Claire Luna (Salma Hayek).
The ladies get word that Claire has taken interest in their products and wants to take controlling ownership in their company. After some reluctance from Mia, the two agree to give her control in exchange for absolving their debts and allowing them to invent new makeup lines. But Claire's intentions (who would've guessed?) aren't in the duo's best interests, as she plans to steal their ideas for her larger lines and create a rift between the two best friends while their own business crumbles underneath them.
Like a Boss is yet another installment in the long line of shoddy, female-centric comedies (see Second Act and Isn't It Romantic for other contemporary examples) that squander their potential by lacking ambition. Throughout the film, you see undertones of themes in place that could've given a method to the madness. The fact Mel and Mia broke through the glass ceiling to start a makeup company predicated on inner-beauty as opposed to manufactured beauty is one aspect. The idea of another woman trying to infiltrate their business and pit them against each other is another; one that is seen in female-dominated industries all too often. There's also a budding subplot of the quiet resentment held by Mel and Mia's other female friends, who have chosen the path of motherhood and see the two as lost souls who never grew up. Sadly, screenwriters Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly (Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television) club these ideas into submission in favor of needlessly raunchy dialog that mistakes the use of naughty words and Haddish relentlessly yelling many of her lines as humor. They would ostensibly rather dedicate an entire scene to Mel putting copious amounts of raw diced ghost pepper into Mia's meal out of spite and watching her frantically try to smother the burn, albeit inadvertently, with goat milk.
The coffin-sealing nail is the pacing. This is a film that was clearly eviscerated in post-production; I'd estimate a good 25 minutes is missing. This is evident in how the aforementioned ghost pepper bit is entirely discarded and unmentioned after the fact, and only more obvious when we see how Claire is villainized before having brazenly crossed the line (the back-breaking straw for the women is when they have to fire one of their employees, and even then, as businesswomen, they should've foreseen that). During the conflict that has our two protagonists inevitably fighting and going their separate ways to pout, a three-week time period passes in approximately three minutes. It is true no bad movie is too short, but had this film been 105 minutes, as opposed to an unusually short 83, some of the most glaring shortcomings could've been adequately ironed out.
It doesn't matter. Like a Boss will go on to be forgotten or perhaps ignominiously remembered as yet another throwaway comedy that terribly undermined the capabilities of Haddish (whose breakout performance in Girls Trip is a fleeting memory at this point) and the impressive deadpan yet lovably surly edge of Byrne. Director Miguel Arteta directed a thoughtful, topical dramedy called Beatriz at Dinner in 2017, which also starred Salma Hayek. It is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Like a Boss is what happens when you don't pay attention to a film like that.
Starring: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Coolidge, Billy Porter, Karan Soni, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair, and Ryan Hansen. Directed by: Miguel Arteta.