Comedy | USA,2020 | 15 | 1 hour 23 mins | 21st February 2020 (UK)| Paramount Pictures | Dir.Miguel Arteta | Starring:Tiffany Haddish, Billy Porter, Salma Hayek, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Coolidge, Karan Soni
There’s definitely something in the water this weekend. Surely, as we creep slowly into the start of the film “calendar year” and another twelve months of film goodness, there won’t be another weekend where we have not one but two stinkers that while their whiffs are potent and unbearable at time, had all the hallmarks of being something half decent. Alas, here we are. This intrepid writer has already given his thoughts on Netflix‘s incomprehensibly disappointing The Last Thing He Wanted, also out Friday, but alongside it is the turgid, insipid comedy Like A Boss that, when all’s said and done, should never have made it past the “we have an idea…” stage in truth.
This writer also appreciates that while it’s hard to fathom how this one made it to screen in the first place, he is not the target audience for it. Indeed, the audience it is aimed at seemed to have a hoot at the screening we attended so what do we know, but the poor reviews upon its release Stateside suggest that even that may have been slightly hard to believe.
Billed as a comedy, it is anything but and with such a great cast at its disposal, how could it fail? It has failed.
The usually energetic and spritely Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne play friends Mia and Mel who have gone into business together, opening a cosmetics shop that showcases their talents for such things. In desperate need of cash due to poor trade, their revelatory products spark the interest of business giant Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), who sees opportunity and exploitation rather than ingenuity and sparkle. Sacrificing money, jobs and friendship, Mia and Mel soon see their friendship deteriorate in the face of Luna’s ever-growing interest.
What should have been a light, bubbly comedy about friendship and sisterhood as well as one that takes stabs at corporate economics, gender politics, American dream ideals and the ever-increasing “rich getting richer, poor getting poorer” falls flat almost immediately. Jokes fall flat, chemistry doesn’t land and characters don’t gel. It’s cast are certainly able enough to bring life to anything but they struggle here, unable to perform the necessary CPR to revive it. Director Miguel Arteta has made some real gems before – The Good Girl chief amongst them – but this one just doesn’t fit his obvious talents and repertoire the same as his leading ladies.
What we are left with is a flaccid, unfunny, inconsistent mess of a film that doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going, instead settling for cheap laughs and a stale script that should have been put to the bottom of the pile and never rediscovered.