Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Premise: A pair of friends (Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish) runs their own makeup business. The CEO of a major cosmetics company (Salma Hayek) invests in their business while plotting to force the founders out and take over of the company.
What Works: The strongest element of Like a Boss is the relationship between the small business owners played by Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish. Recalling some of the 1980s comedies starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Byrne and Haddish are a likable pair and they have a terrific comic rapport but they also make the friendship believable. The actresses genuinely come across as women who have been friends for a long time and the conflicts that arise from combining friendship with business have some real moments.
What Doesn’t: Like a Boss is sabotaged by several critical flaws. The movie has a likable relationship at its center but the friendship between Byrne and Haddish’s characters is buried in a lazy story. Every turn in the narrative is obvious and there is no tension. The formulaic predictability of Like a Boss is part of the appeal of a movie like this but successful films manage to surprise the viewer or at least get us to suspend our disbelief and enjoy the clichés. Like a Boss never accomplishes that. Every time the film gets close to creating some tension the filmmakers quickly diffuse it. We know Byrne and Haddish’s characters are going to reconcile before they even break up. The movie is just a whole lot of nothing. Very little actually happens and the film is padded with a few outrageous set pieces that aren’t very funny. The filmmakers are clearly trying to replicate the success of Bridesmaids but everything that movie did right, Like a Boss does wrong. That’s most obvious in its comedy. Like a Boss’ sense of humor is awkward but not in a way that is comedic. The film is frequently crude but this humor clashes with the tone of the rest of the rest of the movie. Like a Boss is also quite stupid and insultingly so. The picture carries on as though it is a feminist piece but at every turn the female characters are depicted as idiotic and irrational. The CEO’s plot to take over the company is obvious from the beginning and Byrne and Haddish’s characters repeatedly make terrible business decisions. Several characters are clichés, namely the homosexual cosmetics employee played by Billy Porter.
DVD extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes.
Bottom Line: Like a Boss reveals a promising comedy team of Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish and hopefully they will work together again on a movie more becoming of their talents. Like a Boss is a lazy and empty film that is as predictable as it is unfunny.
Episode: #799 (May 3, 2020)