“Like A Boss” is the new female driven buddy comedy featuring two very game leading ladies, Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne who’s sparkling chemistry keeps the film afloat. Working off a script by writers who think that a steady onslaught of genitalia based humor makes for an edgy, R-rated female driven comedy. It’s nothing but a formulaic and predictable structure with mind numbing clichés. The sad part is this could have been something great as the parts are there, it’s just not assembled correctly. A real lost opportunity.
In order to make a great buddy comedy, a strong foundation of chemistry is what the genre is built on. The newest buddy comedy “Like A Boss” has that chemistry between it’s two leads, but not much else. Hot commodity Tiffany Haddish, who is a comedic talent but hasn’t yet found a role like the one that broke her onto the scene in 2017’s “Girls Trip”. Haddish teams up with the equally funny Rose Byrne who has been killing it since 2011’s “Bridesmaids”, in becoming a comedy leading lady.
Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish play best friends Mia and Mel, who have been best friends since middle school. Mel was taken in by Mia’s family because her own mother was never around because she cooked meth (Honestly. This is in the script and what we’re told). Oh and their fathers are apparently ghosts, as they’re never so much as mentioned. They still live together in the house that they grew up and where they’ve built a seemingly successful boutique and online cosmetics company called Mel & Mia’s.
Their most popular product is a makeup travel kit called “One Night Stand”, which is perfect for those mornings after, well… a one-night stand, when you need to give yourself a little touch-up before heading out the door. Despite a successful product, Mel & Mia’s is in nearly half a million dollars in debt and about to go out of business. Just when it seems it’s lights out for Mel & Mia’s, in swoops the mega-successful cosmetics legend Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), who offers to pay off Mia & Mel’s debt and invest nearly $2 million in their business in exchange for 49% ownership of the company, which will increase to 51% if either Mia or Mel quit.
Luna wants the company and devised a plan to get the two to fight with each other so that they break apart, leaving Luna to gain full control of their company. Luna even says this out loud, as Mia and Mel are signing the contract. She’s as bad as the lamest movie villain by giving away the evil plot. While Mia & Mel are smart at the cosmetics business, their not so great at listening to the obvious. That even hearing Luna mention this during the contract signing, neither of them are smart enough to understand what Luna’s trying to do.
Mia (Haddish) is a wild and crazy free spirit. Mel is a people pleaser who never speaks her mind. We are reminded of these character traits again and again and again, to make sure we understand the “complex” plot. Is this the kind of movie where we are headed for a big confrontational moment, when they finally rip into one another and speak the truths they’ve been dying to say for the last 20 years? Yep. You bet!
In their roles, Haddish and Byrne are a charming pair and have great chemistry. Haddish bringing her now trademark brand of loud, fire breathing energy while Byrne is the typical Rose Byrne that we have seen in her past comedies. Coming off as the more awkward and dorky alternative. Their strengths in comedy would’ve benefited the film with more hard earned laughs if the material was stronger. “Like A Boss” tries too hard to make it an adult R-rating, it forcefully injects foul mouthed jokes, swear words and a lot of penis and vagina jokes.
But you can’t hate on the cast doing their best to make it work, especially Haddish and Byrne. At this point your into Haddish’s fierce and don’t hold back attitude or you don’t. Hayek’s character who sports fake buck teeth and huge breasts grows tiresome quickly.
The real scene-stealer here is Billy Porter as Barrett, Mia and Mel’s flamboyant and talented employee. If you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen his “witness my tragic moment” scene, which was completely spoiled in the trailer. Why can’t they just save the funny stuff for the movie?
Nearly every scene in “Like a Boss” has a desperation for laughs, whether it’s verbal or physical comedy. Such as a scene where Mia and Mel jump from the roof of a home into a swimming pool below, for no good reason. Or when Mia steps onto a ledge and threatens to kill herself if Claire won’t meet with her and Mel and nearly plunges to her death when she loses her balance (another big comedy piece spoiled in the trailers). Then their is Mia who inadvertently consumes hot peppers, which results in her spitting out projectile goat milk and of course winding up on the toilet (you guessed it. yet another joke spoiled in the trailers).
Miguel Arteta, director of “Cedar Rapids”, “The Good Girl” and the recent Salma Hayek film “Beatriz at Dinner” directs “Like A Boss”. You can tell that something trying to happen and everyone is trying so hard to make it all work. It’s not a completely terrible movie or a complete loss as it possesses moments of pleasant silliness. It’s just that the writers think that a steady onslaught of genitalia based humor makes for an edgy, R-rated female driven comedy, before it retreats back to a numbing cliché ridden comedy and structure.
“Like A Boss” is the formulaic buddy comedy that males have owned for so long in Hollywood, that we still feel the need to make a big deal about it when talented and funny women do it. It’s an ok movie with silly and tries to hard raunchy comedy, with characters who are faced with any conflicts only take up more than a few minutes to wrap up. Thank god for Kristen Stewart’s “Underwater” and “Bad Boys For Life”, for preventing the month of January from being a dumpster fire for movies that it usually is.
GRADE: ★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5)