Like A Boss REVIEW – A Powerless Comedy About Power

Like A Boss tries and fails to deliver a comedy about two friends rising up in the real world.

Like A Boss

Everyone knows the story. Two best friends go into business, they see moderate success, then an opportunity arises which propels them to riches. Along the way, however, their ambitions get the best of them and they go their separate ways. They may get back together, they might not, but life is never the same afterward.

Miguel Arteta’s Like A Boss serves up this premise to the best of its ability. The film has its strengths, to be sure. The story is there, the characters are there, the humor is kinda there, but something isn’t – and Like A Boss suffers because of it.

Arteta’s film opens with two best friends Mia and Mel, played by Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne respectively, who run their own beauty company. Both are polar opposites – Mia being sassy and strong where Mel is timid and overly cautious – but both are like-minded enough to co-own a business. Life seems well until it is discovered that they are in extreme debt. At the right moment, Mia and Mel are discovered by the ruthless beauty mogul Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), who secretly plots to absorb their company. Mia is skeptical of the matter while Mel naively hangs on to Luna’s every word. Together, they both enter a deal with Luna, but at the potential cost of their friendship, which Luna also seeks to destroy.

To be fair, Like A Boss’s strengths come through with its cast. Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne are perfect for their roles as Mia and Mel, while Salma Hayek has enough charisma to portray a ruthless boss. The remainder of the cast has just the right amount of energy for audiences to remember their characters, even if they forget their names. Unfortunately, the performances aren’t enough to save the film from a weak script.

Like A Boss is somewhat odd in that its delivery is both too much and too little at the same time. The characters have their strengths and weaknesses, but in going for laughs, some aspects are overly exaggerated. The white girl is naive, the black girl is sassy, the gay guy is flamboyant, and the Indian guy is quirky – typical tropes that everyone is familiar with. In this respect, said characters – such as Tiffany Haddish as Mia – become too much at times. She’s confident and full of witty comebacks, but even with all the energy she brings, it still manages to be boring. This is no diss to Tiffany Haddish, as she worked with what she had to the best of her ability. The whole cast carries the same energy, but they all suffer from the same problem.

The film’s humor itself is okay. Haddish and Byrne have great chemistry when it comes to soliciting laughs from the audience, but their antics sometimes occur at the wrong moment, or are just flat out unnecessary. Towards the beginning, the two retreat into the room of a friend’s baby to get high. After dropping the joint into the baby’s crib – and subsequently snapping a picture of the baby with the joint – the two hear somebody coming, make an awkward dash for the window, and are confronted by their friends, whereby they make a decision to jump into the backyard pool. Funny? Kind of. Necessary? Not really – and several of these awkward moments hinder the timing needed to make this film an effective comedy.

Then there are the genital jokes. There’s plenty of them in this film – male, female, and even animal. Scenes that could be truly humorous get peppered with genital references to where they lose air fast. There’s a decent reprieve in the middle, but then it’s right back to genitalia gags. Most of the comedic energy is geared toward these moments, and this is where the humor dries up. Yes, women can be just as vulgar as men, but that’s not comedy. Such an approach suggests that the creators were trying too hard to create cheap laughs instead of finding idiosyncrasies within the characters and their dilemmas.

Apart from the cheap laughs, the overall flaw with this film is that it’s predictable. There’s an undercurrent of The Devil Wears Prada, and there’s nothing wrong with trying something new with an old formula. It solicits laughter in places, but the story of two friends undergoing a transformation once faced with money is so predictable, it doesn’t take a film buff to predict how the film is going to end.

Take away the gags and crude humor, and Like A Boss might come off as a less-than-distracting tale of two friends trying to make it big in the world. Mia and Mel’s journey as two young ladies with polar opposite personalities is already humorous when one thinks of it, and this is where the writers should have put more energy. Unfortunately, by decorating the story with slap-stick sketches and genital jokes, the film loses its power, and as a result, Like A Boss is not powerful.

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Like A Boss
Like A Boss tries and fails to deliver a comedy about two friends rising up in the real world. While the cast is great, the writers tried too hard for laughs with crude jokes and cheap gags. The cast will have another credit to their resumes, but audiences will have another dry comedy to forget.