Like a Boss
- Karen Krizanovich
- 17 February 2020
Limp female empowerment comedy which squanders the efforts of an eye-catching cast
Cosmetic underdogs versus cosmetic overlords, or just a limp 'Galentine'? Mia and Mel (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are best friends 'living their best life' as heads of a beauty company built from scratch which employs their pals. Just when you wonder what fantasyland this is, their financial troubles surface, with Mel pointing out that they are mere days from closing.
Magically, a buyout offer appears in the form of Claire Luna (Salma Hayek). The makeup wizard runs a huge company from a Guggenheim-like building apparently assembled for slapstick. Intimidating and unpredictable, Claire persuades our heroines to accept a financial bailout that costs them control of their company. But forget the business, it's the friendship between Mia and Mel that we're really concerned about.
Like a Boss should explode with laughs and 'we do that' moments but, if it wasn't for the pratfalls, it wouldn't have much to say or do and that's a damn shame given the inspired casting of Haddish, Byrne and Hayek, plus sterling supporting players like Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Jimmy O Yang and Lisa Kudrow. Director Miguel Arteta, who boasts an interesting CV (The Good Girl, Youth in Revolt) and has worked with Hayek fruitfully before (on 2017's Beatriz at Dinner), takes the weak script by Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly and runs with it as best he can.
Although they've been handed scraps, the women put in the work. Haddish brings boundless energy to her role as the throw-caution-to-the wind character, with Byrne capitulating, even as the responsible business partner – and these two together are sparky if unbelievable. Hayek cranks Claire past Devil Wears Prada territory, abusing her poor assistant (Karan Soni) and dressing like Dolly Parton on a bad day. It's a film that so desperately wants to be funny, but isn't sure how.
General release from Fri 21 Feb.