Like a Boss

 

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Two life-long friends must kiss and make-up when an outside entrepreneur attempts to 

take over their business.

 
Like a Boss

Pulling together: Rose Byrne (in green) and Tiffany Haddish

 

This is one for the sisters. And if you think the sight of women running in heels is hilarious, you’ll split a rib. For a while there, Melissa McCarthy seemed to be leading the charge for female comedy, but her silent partner is really Rose Byrne. In spite of high-profile roles in the dramatic TV series Damages and the Insidious films, Ms Byrne is a comic natural and has brought considerable mirth to everything from Bridesmaids to Instant Family. The script of Like a Boss, by Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly, was actually developed as a vehicle for Tiffany Haddish, and she does knock her one-liners out of the park – like Eddie Murphy in his heyday. However, Ms Byrne steals the laughs  from beneath her. Nonetheless, the film is anything but short of one-liners and seven of the nine main characters are women. But for my money, the best line is uttered by Jessica St. Clair, as Kim: “I would express shock, but for the Botox…”

 

Talking of Kim, this is the story of Mia and Mel (and Kim), life-long friends who have invested all their passion, time and money into a cosmetics brand called ‘Mia&Mel’. Yet, for all the respect and visibility the company has built, it is losing money. Mia and Mel believe in products that enhance the natural beauty of their customers, rather than something that paints over it. Mia (Haddish) is the creative engine of the show, an outspoken force of nature, while the somewhat meeker Mel (Byrne) is the head on Mia’s shoulders, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. They still live in the same apartment together and it is Mel who puts the toothpaste on Mia’s brush. Then, a cosmetically-enhanced Latino hellcat called Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) offers to pay off their $493,000 debt in return for a 49% stake in their business. And soon the third wheel is riding the tricycle…

 

Like a Boss is the type of urban farce that proclaims its humour from the rooftops. From the opening bars of Christophe Beck's score, we know that what is about to follow will be broad and have little basis in reality. No, girl – nada. As pure sitcom, with lashings of crudity, the film is not as toe-curling as one might have dreaded, although the layers of sisterly schmaltz are pretty emetic. We all know where it’s headed, but there are enough decent jokes to keep whipping up a sporadic smile. Salma Hayek is obviously enjoying the chance to let rip ("My head isn't little, it's just that my breasts are humungous") and the other stereotypes are all present and accounted for. Still, the film proves something of an education for those not wedded to lipstick and mascara.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Karan Soni, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair, Jacob Latimore, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, Catherine Parker, Catherine Carlen, Lisa Kudrow.

 

Dir Miguel Arteta, Pro Marc Evans, Peter Principato, Itay Reiss and Joel Zadak, Screenplay Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly, Ph Jas Shelton, Pro Des Theresa Guleserian, Ed Jay Deuby, Music Christophe Beck, Costumes Sekinah Brown.

 

Artists First-Paramount Pictures.

83 mins. USA. 2020. Rel: 21 February 2020. Cert. 15.