Like a Boss is one of those movies where it’s so bad, so boring, and so excruciating to sit through that you have to wonder how it ever got made. It’s a comedy that’s so unfunny that its best joke is actually telling viewers that it belongs in the comedy genre. Seriously, this is one of those awkward films where you’re just sitting there as the terrible jokes are happening and your face is just emotionless. No smile, no interest, just a glazed over look that no movie wants as its lone reaction for 83-minutes. Yes, you read that right: this movie isn’t even the standard 90-minute runtime and it still feels too long.
The ideal length for this particular movie would’ve been a few minutes long, happening early on in the concept stage when screenwriters Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly realized on page two that nothing they’d written was funny and nothing they had planned for the remaining 81 pages was going to be funny and they then moved on with their lives, saving future me (who is now present me) a whole lot of time. Because now I must write about this abysmal piece of movie mediocrity after already suffering through watching it. The only silver lining is that hopefully someone out there who is a fan of Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and/or Salma Hayek who might have been thinking to themselves, “Oh, this movie could be a fun way to pass some time,” will see this review and realize the error of their ways before it’s too late and they too fall into the black hole that is Like a Boss, where laughter goes to die.
Now, I know movie stars sometimes sign multi-picture deals with studios and there are times when they’ll just do a movie to get one out of the way, and I have to think that was the case for Haddish and Byrne, as there’s just nothing here to make me believe they read the script and went, “This is gold. How have I become so lucky that this came across my desk before anyone else snatched up these juicy roles!” These are two talented women whose names alone will get people to watch this movie, and that’s not only a disservice to themselves as actors, but also to the poor, innocent psyche of their fans who will choose to consume this out of sheer loyalty.
The movie is about two best friends, Mia (Haddish) and Mel (Byrne), who run a beauty company together. While they have the best interests of their customers at heart, their business is half a million dollars in debt ever since they moved into a brick and mortar store. Luckily for them, Claire Luna (Hayek), who runs a cosmetics empire, is looking to bail them out. She initially wants 51% of their company, but Mia will have none of it. She says their dream was to be their own boss so no deal. Claire adjusts the deal, saying she’ll take 49% instead, but if either of them quit then the contract alters to her gaining the 51% ownership share. Mel, knowing how dire their situation is, convinces Mia to accept the deal as nothing could ever come between them.
Of course, everything instantly comes between them, and it’s not even a natural progression. In fact, it’s almost instantaneous. They just start bickering back and forth about everything, and they visit their friends who are cliché “friends who have it all, while our leads are struggling,” and it’s all just so bad. It’s all just so, so bad. It’s actually painful to delve back into my memory bank to try and retrieve parts of the plot to explain to you because all that does is make me have to relive the torture once again while trying to put it into words that may have you think, “Well it doesn’t sound that bad.” It is. It is that bad.
Everything is so incredibly paint-by-numbers. Nothing happens that’s surprising and everyone is a caricature instead of someone with any sort of depth. People say things at random, go off on meaningless tangents, do ridiculous things that have no true consequence and in the end everything you think is going to happen happens because we’ve all seen this same story countless times before, and zero effort was made to make this time around anything special, memorable or even marginally entertaining. Avoid Like a Boss at all costs, unless, of course, you’re curious what it feels like to forget how to smile.
The movie looks vibrant and the video transfer is solid all around. The film is supposed to be lively and colourful, and on the surface that is accomplished here. The audio is also fine, with the soundtrack and effects all working as they should, and the dialogue never being hard to hear (which isn’t saying it’s not painful to listen to, but that has nothing to do with the audio mix and everything to do with the script.)
With Coworkers Like These, Who Needs Friends? – This is a five and a half minute featurette that kind of feels like a longer promotional piece, and shows how everyone had fun on the set and were a joy to work with.
Get Some with Ron and Greg – As though they weren’t painful enough to sit through in their minimal roles in the film, we get some extra time with these two characters.
Deleted Scenes – I mean, this should have really been an 83-minute feature where you could find the entire film because that’s what should’ve happened to it. Needless to say, you have to be pretty bad as a scene to get cut from a movie that’s this terrible and only 83-minutes long.
Paramount Pictures Presents Like a Boss. Directed by: Miguel Arteta. Written by: Sam Pitman, Adam Cole-Kelly. Starring: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge. Running time: 83 Minutes. Rating: PG. Released on Blu-ray: Apr. 21, 2020.
Tags: like a boss, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Tiffany Haddish