Credit: Hopper Stone

A Melissa McCarthy movie doesn’t so much showcase the actress as submit to her force field. Like Spy, Tammy, and Identity Thief before it, pesky details of plot and character in The Boss feel like mere set dressing for what she does best on a big screen: filling approximately 90 minutes with high-wire comedic riffs and fresh ways to conjugate profanity. Here McCarthy stars as Michelle Darnell, a brash Fortune 500 CEO with a burnt-apricot bouffant, a trucker’s mouth, and a truly epic collection of face-framing turtlenecks. Brought down for insider trading by a bitter ex (Peter Dinklage, twirling his metaphorical mustache) and reluctantly taken in after a white-collar prison stint by her badgered ex-assistant Claire (Kristen Bell), Michelle quickly rediscovers her purpose—money, fame, more turtlenecks—by commandeering the cookie sales of a Girl Scout-style troop Claire’s young daughter belongs to. A few moments are fantastically bonkers, but granting director duties to McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, feels more like an act of love than wisdom. In his hands, the story wobbles and weaves and finally topples—a Boss with no boss, or boundaries, to rein it all in. C+

The Boss
2016 movie
  • Movie
  • 99 minutes