Melissa McCarthy takes control in ‘The Boss’

By Alicia Balderrama

Fans of actress Melissa McCarthy know her style: outrageous comedy, raunchy jokes and an air of dominance around every character she plays. In “The Boss,” viewers can expect nothing less.

“The Boss,” also produced by McCarthy, tells the classic tale of a person who, despite impossible odds, rises to power only to lose it all because of one fatal flaw: she doesn’t know anything about healthy family relationships.

The film opens on a rainy day as her foster family returns a young Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) to the orphanage from where she came. This sad story repeats two more times while she grows up until she vows that she will one day go “straight to the top.”

Amid sparkling lights and catchy music, the adult Darnell, descends onto a stage upon a golden phoenix statue, raps and dances along with rapper T-Pain and tells a cheering audience that she is one of the wealthiest people in the world, all as an introduction to her seminar about how to get rich.

This extravagant start to the film does a good job of setting up Darnell’s overindulgent, self-absorbed and money-hungry personality. The woman cares for no one and for nothing unless it boosts her ego or her bank accounts.

Darnell is especially cruel to her loyal assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), who caters to Darnell’s every whim and wish, no matter how petty.

Darnell’s life of luxury is quickly eradicated, however, when an enemy business mogul from her past named Renault (Peter Dinklage) reports her to the police for insider trading, which results in a five-month stay in federal prison. When she finally “tastes freedom,” she finds she has no company, no home, no money and nowhere to go.

With designer luggage in tow, Darnell troops her way through New York until she reaches Claire’s tiny apartment. After Claire’s daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson), convinces her mother to let Darnell stay with them, hilarity ensues (spoiler: Darnell doesn’t get along well with the couch bed).

After a few weeks crashing on Claire’s couch and a futile attempt at getting back into the business world, thanks to a sabotage by Renault, Claire tells Darnell to pitch in and take Rachel to her Dandelions meeting (basically a Girl Scout troop). In the process of hijacking the meeting and nearly coming to blows with one of the moms, Darnell comes up with an idea to blow the Dandelions’ mediocre cookie sales out of the water.

Inspired by Claire’s amazing homemade brownies, Darnell comes up with “Darnell’s Darlings Brownies,” a rival group to the Dandelions that gives part of its profits to the girls to build their college funds ” and of course make Darnell a lot of money.

The two troops eventually come to blows in the streets in a full-on gang fight, moms against moms and girls against girls (Darnell’s Darlings put up quite the fight).

Eventually Rachel and Darnell become really close (despite one time the mogul subjects the young girl to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) and Darnell, who always says that “family is for suckers,” freaks out at the thought of being considered part of Claire and Rachel’s family, so she leaves.

The ending includes cat burglary, a phoenix costume, a samurai swordfight between Darnell and Renault and another attack by the couch bed.

Overall, the film flowed really well from one scene to the next and didn’t spend too much time on any one part ” the plot was continually moving forward. Despite the somewhat traditional plot arc, the film continuously catches you by surprise. McCarthy’s comedy often encompasses the element of shock and a lot of her mishaps were definitely unexpected.

The only critique is that it is definitely not suitable for children. McCarthy’s films usually contain an abundance of foul language and mature jokes and “The Boss” is no exception.

McCarthy and Bell both delivered in their respective roles as strong, independent women who truly knew how to be the boss.

“The Boss” is rated R for sexual content, language and brief drug use. It is currently playing in theaters.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

‘The Boss’

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