“Like a Boss” – “Oh, you’re the best friend that I ever had. I’ve been with you such a long time. You’re my sunshine, and I want you to know that my feelings are true. I really love you. Oh, you’re my best friend.” – Queen, “You’re My Best Friend” (1975)
Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are best friends and have been for decades. Now, while their gal pals are scoring big jobs, getting married or having kids, Mia and Mel are housemates and share a bathroom, Brady Bunch-style. These two girls are pushing 40, but they frequent recreational drugs and random one-night stands through the joy of singledom, but arrested development also flies as their trusty co-pilot.
They do, however, show some semblance of adulthood, because they own a make-up store, which they built on a foundation of love. Love doesn’t exactly pay the bills though, because they are nearly half a million dollars in debt. Thankfully, cosmetic icon Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) solves their financial woes by buying 49 percent of their company.
Little do Mia and Mel know that Ms. Luna carries nefarious intentions, so how will their little corner of the world (or Atlanta, to be precise) and their friendship survive?
Their future looks bleak and – most unfortunately – so does this comedy’s hope for big laughs and rewards, because “Like a Boss” is an unfunny clown show that will most likely disappoint its target audience.
Look, director Miguel Arteta’s movie features two very likable comedic actresses, whose characters own a make-up company. A make-up company! This translates to girlfriends, mothers and daughters planning dinner-and-movie dates at thousands of cineplexes. Who could blame them? On the surface, “Like a Boss” hits all kinds of girly-beats, but most of the film’s laughs can be enjoyed in the 2-minute 18-second trailer.
What about the actual movie, this potential wonder of feminine bliss? Well, the chuckles start to wane after the first 20 minutes, and the remaining 60 are largely spent feeling pity for Haddish and Byrne.
This pair has great chemistry, and they seem to be having a blast when shooting the breeze about dream-sex and smoking weed. Although the fun – for them and the audience – comes to a screeching halt once Claire appears. She forces Mia and Mel to drum up new business ideas, which is not their expert forte. So the cheery shenanigans suddenly morphs into dull idea generation and bickering.
So unless one’s idea of groundbreaking comedy is cutting up a hot pepper, placing it in your best friend’s food and watching her suffer in agony, this film is a painful exercise, as we sit there and wish that these women starred in a better movie.
The movie’s arc feels similar to Amy Schumer’s vehicle “I Feel Pretty” (2018), but at least Michelle Williams – in that film – dove into unique territory with one of the strangest performances of her career. Hayek is an engaging actress, but her mean-rich girl act gets old after Claire’s second insult, and she doesn’t project enough villainy to feel empathy for Mia and Mel.
Strange, because Hayek terrified every man on the planet as a dancer-turned-demon in “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996).
Well, “Like a Boss” may not introduce twisted, supernatural ghouls, but screenwriters Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly certainly pile on crass, warped adult humor in spades, as they absolutely earn the film’s R-rating with content that would make 1982-Eddie Murphy blush.
So, as a public service announcement: if moms must see this movie, leave the kids at home. For girlfriends, perhaps call up one another and cancel this particular dinner-movie night.
Think of it as a needed obligation, because hey, that’s what friends do!
⭐ 1/2 out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Image and Trailer credits: Paramount Pictures