Brawling girl scouts are the The Boss’ highlight. A straight ninjitsu, fist-flying, roundhouse kicking pre-teen and adult melee on public streets where the loser suffers the agony of Samoas shoved into their rectum. It’s an interesting time.
There are occasional hits, outside of the literal fisticuffs. The Boss lands on occasion, helped by the spark of Kristen Bell and McCarthy’s intended arrogance. Inside comes the story of a powerhouse business woman (the 47th richest in America), sent away for insider trading, then forced to come down to reality on her release. It’s all routine, a predictable redemption story which somehow ends with Peter Dinklage in a katana fight. That part isn’t predictable. Odd, this movie can be.
McCarthy has made a career out of being boisterous and loud. She falls down a lot. We’re still doing that apparently. Yet, The Boss’ power comes from the sedate comedy – slyly interacting with Bell or standing with Kathy Bates as they sling derogatory lines at one another. Co-written and directed by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone, The Boss shows maturity from the insufferably poor Tammy. Work in drawing characters improved and the premise – albeit without the spark of originality – leans on McCarthy. Few others are capable of this project.
The time taken to establish McCarthy’s Michelle Darnell has pay off. Out of jail, Darnell bursts into a girl scout meeting to overthrow the mild middle class establishment in a ruthless, cutthroat stretch of comedy. In the strangest way, the empowerment angle has bite, even as it escalates into the curbside brawl over cookie distribution. Stalling afterward, The Boss disintegrates into a familiar and indifferent story where characters disagree, separate, and rejoin for the finale – each note played as if on cue. That leaves even less for the finale to work with, and villain Peter Dinklage tries. However, the conclusion spills into a total loss.
Some of the satisfaction comes with seeing a bit humanity brought to McCarthy’s uber-rich, Martha Stewart-like public figure. Although hardly Stewart-like in her demeanor, the self-compulsion and jail time skirt the similarities with definite intent. There’s also immediate satire of “get rich” figures like Kevin Trudeau as Darnell steps onto a stage flushed with fireworks and rap stars to a cheering audience. Under the absurd attempts at closure and pedestrian style, The Boss has a spark.
Typically hazy and leaning softer, The Boss’ digital production doesn’t engage visually. Fidelity wanes rapidly and few close-ups produce substantial, notable fine detail. The best of The Boss are aerial shots of Chicago which keep coming, showing off superlative resolution which is invisible elsewhere.
Keep looking for that singular grand quality. Black levels are passe, color remains naturally firm, and contrast stretches into a bloom. A mild round or two of noise add more texture than anything else on the disc.
Identifiable as a Julio Macat effort, cinematography matches his affinity for lightly dream-esque visuals. Universal’s disc services the limiting visual space offered, kindly resolving any potential issues. Outside of exteriors though, The Boss limits itself by design.
Right away, the DTS-HD track springs to life, throbbing to some music and enveloping listeners with a vibrant stadium crowd. Plenty of activity can be noticed. Then The Boss settles down.
Dialog stretches to the stereos on occasion. A brief in-prison tennis session bounces the ball between channels in the movie’s best tracking moment. Afterward, the audio mix slides into the center and stays.
Deleted scenes, extended scenes, and an alternate ending (with Dave Bautista) all earn separate menu placement, coming in around a half hour total. A gag reel primarily uses clips from the end credits crawl, but has a few extras too. Origin Story digs into McCarthy’s first use of the character Michelle Darnell at an improv club. You can follow up with one of her performances from 2005. Two additional promos give Peter Dinklage and Kristen Bell praise for their role.
Melissa McCarthy is on to something with The Boss, but the movie’s ludicrous turns and predictable form crush its appeal.
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