The new comedy Like A Boss is like a cone of vanilla ice cream with sprinkles. It does its job at being satisfactory the way one would expect but with some added touches. It’s firmly aware that it isn’t meant to change the face of comedy even if it doesn’t offer “laugh a minute”-type humor. Yet, it admirably adds some slight heft with its handling of lifelong friendships.
Mia Carter (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel Paige (Rose Byrne) have been together through thick and thin. Despite them having different personalities, they still have remained close friends who live together and run their own beauty parlor. Once they end up in heavy debt, however, they’re forced to allow beauty mogul Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) to invest in their company only for Claire to try and steal it from under them.
Along the way, Mia and Mel are forced to confront their aforementioned opposite ideals. Mel is the pragmatic, finance-weary one of the duo whole Mia is the optimistic idealist hoping to get rich quick. Their dynamic is portrayed with humor and acuity by Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne. While Haddish may be playing a slight variation of her newfound comedic persona, she still plays it well. As for Byrne, she is pitch perfect as the comical “straight man” while simultaneously acting as the duo’s dramatic core.
The supporting players similarly get to offer a fair amount of laughs. Salma Hayek gets to chew scenery as the manipulative Claire while Jennifer Coolidge is a hoot as Sydney, a loyal employee at Mel and Mia’s beauty parlor. Additionally, Billy Porter is a delight as the flamboyant Barrett, another one of Mel and Mia’s employees.
All the actors manage to commit in this quick, breezy comedy with a length of 83 minutes that becomes a detriment. As a result of its runtime, it goes down avenues that one would expect in a comedy like this and wraps everything up too quickly. Although it provides a deep backstory involving how Mel and Mia became close throughout their years, the screenplay by Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly still gets hampered by its contrivances.
To the film’s credit, it does thrive on its sole purpose of being a simple comedy meant to amuse and offer escapism for a good hour and a half. Its January release will likely induce skepticism since the month is often a dumping ground for films with poor quality. But don’t let its release deter you. As long as you don’t go in expecting something that breaks any new ground, you might be amused.