Editor’s Notes: The Boss will be released on its respective home video format on July 12th.
In The Boss (Universal Home Entertainment), Melissa McCarthy plays business superstar Michelle Darnell, the world’s 47th-richest woman. When we first meet her, she’s appearing in a stadium filled with thousands of fans as she provides motivational aphorisms about self-actuation and discovering one’s inner self. She’s a virtual rock star and icon who has amassed a fortune, not always through strictly legal means.
Arrested for insider trading, she spends several months behind bars. When released, she discovers that the government has seized her assets. With no money and no place to go, she lands on the doorstep of her former assistant, single mother Claire (Kristen Bell), who agrees to put Michelle up in her small apartment until she can get on her feet.
A Girl Scout meeting she attends with Claire’s daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson), gives Michelle an idea for getting back into the money game: sell Claire’s delicious brownies door-to-door. Michelle teaches her young protégées how to succeed using cutthroat methods that don’t always coincide with genteel behavior.
Director Ben Falcone (Ms. McCarthy’s husband) draws on his wife’s ability to balance slapstick with her talent for reaching beneath the surface gag to show some depth to Michelle. However, the film is at its freewheeling best when McCarthy says outrageously inappropriate things, faces down an annoying Girl Scout mom, longs for sympathy from hard-working Claire, fires up Rachel and her pals to break sales records whatever it takes, and comically spurns the advances of a former lover (Peter Dinklage).
Not since Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett has there been a comedienne so adept at physical comedy. Ms. McCarthy seems game to do anything as long as it results in a laugh. The Boss takes full advantage of this talent while also focusing on Michelle’s transformation from ruthless go-getter to grounded, compassionate people person. The last third of the movie becomes overly sentimental and we miss the brash, bull-in-a-china-shop version of Michelle.
Kristen Bell has the thankless job of being straight man to McCarthy’s Michelle. She’s there to react, provide set-up lines, be the voice of reason in a madcap swirl of craziness, and be the adult trying to set a good example for her daughter despite Michelle’s unrestrained ways.
This is not a picture for the whole family. Its R rating reflects strong language, sexual situations, and drug use. By pushing the envelope in nearly every scene, the movie creates anticipation as we wait, open- mouthed, to see how far the filmmakers will go.
The Boss is not one of Ms. McCarthy’s best films, but she is undeniably fun to watch in this larger-than-life role. The true test of comedy is whether it generates laughs. Though many of the gags border — and even enter the realm of — questionable taste, The Boss is often hilarious.
Bonus extras on the unrated 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack include the featurettes “Peter Dinklage Gets to the Point” and “Everybody Loves Kristen Bell;” alternate ending; deleted scenes; extended/alternate scenes; and gag reel. A digital HD copy is included.