Melissa McCarthy saves The Boss


Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell.
Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell.

THE trailers for each Melissa McCarthy comedy would have you believe the bombastic comedian is stuck in a Groundhog Day-like cycle.

Cherrypicking the most outrageous and inappropriate moments from The Heat, Spy and Tammy that are likely to put bums on seats, it appears she is coasting on her inventive insult-laden shtick.

All of her characters have used every hilariously vulgar insult under the sun against their poor offsiders, but McCarthy deserves credit for bringing more than just acid-tongued dialogue, imbuing her prickly protagonists with heart.

Case in point is her ruthless, money-hungry Donald Trump-like Michelle Darnell, who is possibly one of the most despicable characters you could put on screen.

Fuelled by childhood abandonment and foster home-hopping, Darnell grows up with a chip on her shoulder about family and without any sense of loyalty.

When she is busted for insider trading, she comes crashing back down to Earth.

Upon release from prison, Darnell realises she has no-one to turn to but her underappreciated former assistant and single mum Claire (Kristen Bell).

Her story goes from rags to riches to rags and down the path to riches again when she hatches a money-making baking scheme.

Despite her tunnel vision, F-bomb dropping and inciting a Girl Scout street smackdown, we sympathise with Darnell because of her back story; we know and understand why she is so horrible.

But also, when she is in emotional pain, McCarthy makes us feel it.

While effort has been put in to make Darnell three-dimensional, other areas of the script could have done with the same attention.

Jokes often fall flat and Peter Dinklage as a business rival is so far over the top, his performance seems like something from another universe.

And then there is the out of left field samurai sword fight.

Mistaking bizarre for hilarious seems to be The Boss’ primary downfall.

Its saving grace is McCarthy.

THE ESSENTIALS

The Boss (MA)

Directed by: Ben Falcone

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage

Three and a half stars

Review by Julian Wright

In cinemas now