Like a Boss
Starring Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Karen Soni
First movie of the new year, first review, and while you can’t expect much from a Tiffany Haddish flick, “Like a Boss” is a step in the wrong direction for everyone involved. Salma Hayek previously worked with Miguel Arteta on “Beatriz at Dinner,” a film that was among 2017’s best. “Like a Boss” could effortlessly be one of 2020’s worst, which of course, is why it’s a new release hitting theaters during the “dumping ground” period known as January. Studios typically off load films they know won’t turn a profit or garner large crowds at the beginning of the year. Typically these are comedies and horror films. The screenplay, written by Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly is full of the expected crude jokes, unrealistic behavior and scenarios, featuring a campy performance from Hayek that’s rarely comical. The female friend circle “Like a Boss”tries to cultivate is a cheap “Bridesmaids” knockoff without any of Kristen Wiig’s witty writing.
Best friends for forty years, Mia (Haddish) and Mel (Byrne) have been through it all. They live together and now have put every last dime of their money into starting their own company. But things haven’t taken off at their little makeup boutique like they had hoped. In fact, the duo is over $400,000 in debt. Their best seller is an on-the-go, over–night makeup pack with all the essentials. Claire Luna (Hayek) one of the largest beauty product manufactures is interested in Mia and Mel’s best seller and possibly purchasing their company. Mel wants to make the deal to repay Mia for all her kindness and financial assistance over the years, but Mia doesn’t want to relinquish control. Luna understands that dividing the two friends is the best way to gain control of their company.
The screenplay, written by two men is full of the expected crude jokes, unrealistic behavior and scenarios, featuring a campy performance from Hayek that’s rarely comical
“We’re just acting like men,” Mia says early in the film. Which is too bad, because crude comedies with men are just as terrible. It’s a real disappointment from Miguel Artetawho has twice delivered unexpected dark comedies that have resonated well beyond laughs. Both “The Good Girl” and ‘Beatriz’ were written by Mike White, Arteta is essentially just a director for hire on this one. “Like a Boss” centers around two women who have chosen career over family and how their suburban housewife friends treat that decision. Of course the plot pits one woman against another as these sorts of male-written-comedies about women often do. Best friends whose friendship comes under attack band together in the end. You’ve seen this before.
Whether presenting an award at the Golden Globes, or starring in another raunchy comedy like “Nobody’s Fool” or “Bad Trip,” Tiffany Haddish seems to only play one character. Likewise Rose Byrne has played the sidekick to the funnier actress for so long now, it’s difficult to differentiate between the various roles. Billy Porter gets one of the funniest “tragic” moments in the film, while Jennifer Coolidge brings back her “Legally Blonde” personality. If “Like a Boss” hoped to inspire viewers to take charge of their careers, it fails. If championing realistic female bonds was the goal, that’s a failure as well, since none of the characters on screen are living any sort of life that’s recognizable to the general public.
Like a Boss is what re-heating leftovers (i.e. Bridesmaids) too many times looks like.