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The Boss Review

The Boss, in which Melissa McCarthy teams up with hubby Ben Falcone, who co-wrote and directed, misses way more than her previous hit, Spy, further proving the best work from comedy’s newest megastar, McCarthy, seems to come from her collaborations with Paul Feig. 

The Boss begins with a dated character, the Martha Stewart-ish Michelle Darnell, a one woman mega-empire who is sent to country-club jail for white-collar stuff. Rather than doing anything out of the ordinary with Michelle, McCarthy, Falcone and a third writer, Steve Mallory, spend nearly 100 minutes teaching her about family via a single mom, Claire (Kristen Bell), and her daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson). Peter Dinklage continues a streak of ill usage as Michelle’s former lover and current nemesis, Renault, aka Ron, whose Japanophilia leads to a climactic samurai sword fight that is best described as bewildering. 

Too many gags are conventional (the sleeper sofa pratfall) or call to mind earlier films, à la the Girl Scout (called Dandelions in the movie) royal rumble, which closely recalls Anchorman’s news team showdown. Fortunately, McCarthy has enough inspired moments to redeem the time spent watching. Still, Michelle remains a character audiences laugh at more than with. Spy worked best by playing against expectations. Michelle holds few surprises. The Boss does get extra points for giving the sorely underused Tyler Labine (“Reaper” and the better-than-it-sounds Tucker and Dale vs. Evil) some much-needed screen time as Claire’s love interest. Still, in the comedic wasteland that is 2016 to date, The Boss stands relatively tall.