Kristen Bell and Melissa McCarthy Share a Laugh
Melissa McCarthy Cusses and Pratfalls Her Way Through “The Boss”
By Skip Sheffield
Melissa McCarthy is one funny, fearless and smart woman. She virtually single-handedly carries “The Boss,” which opens April 8.
Like Lucille Ball a couple generations before her, Melissa McCarthy is not afraid of making herself look foolish for a good laugh. She even wears a red wig, perhaps in homage.
The title character, Michelle Darnell (McCarthy), is a horrible woman. The story, co-written by McCarthy, Steve Mallory and director Ben Falcone (who happens to be McCarthy’s husband), begins in 1975 with a flashback of Michelle as a little orphaned girl who has been rejected by several foster families and always returns to Chicago’s Blessed Sisters of Mercy orphanage.
The story jumps ahead to 1985 with Michelle, now “the 47th wealthiest woman in America,” at the top of her game, making a grand entrance complete with fireworks and dancing girls before an adoring crowd. Then comes the fall. A little fellow and former lover who calls himself Renault (Peter Dinklage) rats on Michelle regarding insider trading. Michelle is busted and sent to federal prison for four months. It is enough to ruin her financially and she is forced to beg her former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) to let her sleep on her sofa while Michelle tries to get back on her feet.
Claire is a single mom with a bright daughter named Rachel (Ella Anderson) who proves to be key to the regaining of Michelle’s pride and humility when Michelle decides to market Claire’s yummy brownies publicly. Michelle strong-arms a Girl Scout-like group called Dandelions to sell the brownies. A very tall girl named Chrystal (Eva Peterson) is her first lieutenant.
Logic is not a strong suit of “The Boss.” Raunchy, R-rated humor is, along with numerous pratfalls by Melissa McCarthy. This is nowhere near as good as “The Bridesmaids,” which also was a collaboration between McCarthy and Falcone, but it is a lot better than “Tammy,” about which the less said the better.