The Boss (Unrated) Blu-ray Review: Filled with Brilliant, Comedic Performances

Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) is an orphan, rejected by numerous families, who bucks the ideals of traditional family in order to become the celebrity tycoon of her own financial life-coaching empire. After she tells her former-lover-turned-arch-enemy Renault (Peter Dinklage) about her recent insider trading deal, he turns her into the FCC causing Darnell’s assets to be frozen, her properties seized, and a prison sentence.

After Darnell is released, she ends up on the doorstep of her former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell), who lives in a small apartment with her young daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson). While Claire is in a hurry to get her former boss out the door, Rachel asks her mom to let her stay. With the tables turned, Claire enlists Darnell’s help to take Rachel to and from school as well as to Rachel’s Dandelion’s Scout Troop meeting. While at that meeting, Darnell gets the idea to start her own troop called Darnell’s Darlings and sell the amazing brownies that Claire has been making. Instead of the organization being a non-profit like the Dandelion’s, Darnell turns the new organization into a profit-sharing commission-based organization to help the young girls earn money and save for college. As Darnell and Claire’s new venture begins to take off, Renault decides that they cannot succeed and sets out to destroy what Darnell and Claire have built.

This movie is packed with incredible talent. I am not just talking about McCarthy, Bell, and Dinklage, but the performances of Ella Anderson, John Mulaney, Cecily Strong, Tyler Labine, Kathy Bates, Kristen Schaal, Annie Mumolo, Cedric Yarbrough, Larry Dorf, and many others. Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone (McCarthy’s husband, who not only co-wrote the film, but also directed The Boss) come from the sketch and improv world of The Groundlings and have enlisted incredibly talented comedic performers to bring this script to life. Everyone is this film is perfectly cast and all do great things with their parts. The Boss has many moments that caused me to laugh out loud and revisit during my watching. Larry Dorf as Kenny the Guard and Cedric Yarbrough as Tito are two of my favorite supporting characters in this film. But again, everyone gets a lot of mileage out of every line and on screen moment. The sheer volume of talent in this film is amazing.

Where the film fell a bit short for me was some holes in the actual plot. While we get a taste of Michelle Darnell’s back story, we never really get any idea of why families rejected her. It’s hard to tell if Darnell was a ball-buster from a young age or if the numerous rejections turned her that way. The audience is never told why the families that adopt her bring her back to the orphanage time and time again. I would have also liked to have seen more of a developed relationship between Claire and Darnell that shows why Claire would stay as an assistant to such a difficult woman for such a long time. Claire’s motivation that she is a single mom is not enough of a motivation for her to stay in an awful job that actually keeps her away from her daughter.

Where The Boss brilliant was in the comedic performances, as well as in the love/hate/lust relationship between Renault and Darnell. Dinklage and McCarthy have fantastic on-screen chemistry and play incredibly well off of one another.

I watched this film twice. I watched the unrated version first and then the theatrical version. While the unrated version had some extra scenes and funny moments, the theatrical version is tighter. Besides the rated and unrated versions, there are some great extras which include a gag reel, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a behind-the-scenes featurette called “Peter Dinklage Gets To the Point” which details the martial arts training Dinklage did for his role, footage of the original Michelle Darnell sketch from The Groundlings, and the story behind the comedic history that the cast has together from The Groundlings.

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Darcy Staniforth

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