Indiana Daily Student

Bossing it up

Melissa McCarthy in "The Boss." (Hopper Stone/Universal Pictures/TNS)
Melissa McCarthy in "The Boss." (Hopper Stone/Universal Pictures/TNS)

Grade: B

“The Boss” isn’t a film I was excited to see. Though I claim to love Melissa McCarthy, I have to confess that I tend to avoid her in leading rolls because of fear about her past characterizations.

Though she’s been around for more than a decade in shows like “Gilmore Girls” and “Mike and Molly,” McCarthy’s big comedic break was arguably her role in “Bridesmaids.” In the Kristen Wiig comedy, McCarthy played the oddball sister of the groom who’s a little too forward and has a bit of a food fetish.

She was hilarious not because she was making the jokes, but because she was the joke. She was the comedic relief that drove by in a car full of puppies while the main character angrily speeds away from her best friend’s bridal shower. She showed up while Wiig’s character sadly sat on a couch mourning her friendship and quite literally bites her on the ass.

That’s not the case in “The Boss.” Here, McCarthy’s comedy runs the show.

McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, a ruthless, foul-mouthed Fortune 500 CEO who is arrested after a bitter ex-boyfriend rats her out for insider trading. She is released from prison and depends on the kindness of her former assistant, Claire, played by Kristen Bell, for a place to stay while getting back on her feet.

Michelle finds her new calling through Claire’s daughter, Rachel, who belongs to an off-brand girl scouts group, the Dandelions. She builds a new coalition of pint-sized entrepreneurs, Darnell’s Darlings, and takes the market by storm.

The plot is rather predictable. Michelle starts to become attached to Claire and Rachel.

There are misunderstandings, dumb decisions made out of self-preservation, revelations and apologies. Nothing is original, but the story line is kept interesting with gags and colorful language.

I can’t say “The Boss” was McCarthy’s best work, but it was certainly great work. She was able to showcase a kind of viciousness that we don’t get from her too often. I liked the mean edge to her character. I liked her dark nature that led her to threatening troop moms in scout meetings and clotheslining a 13-year-old girl amidst a savage street fight.

What I didn’t like were the scenes meant to humanize her character and provide a justification for her actions. I didn’t want her actions to be justified. I don’t care why Michelle clotheslined a teenager. McCarthy played it so well, I just want to see it again and again.

I can’t finish this review without giving a shoutout to the fantastic female casting. This film revolves around women and the minor roles played by the likes of Cecily Strong, Kristen Schaal and the legendary Kathy Bates were like a surprise gift at the bottom of the cereal box.

“The Boss” is nowhere close to comedy of the year, but it was a great opener to the summer blockbuster season.

@LexiaBanks

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