Like a Boss

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Tiffany Haddish is the only human in this botox-injected comedy.

A question that has been burning through my mind during my viewing of “Like a Boss,” and that question is this: what expecting mother would show her affection for a baby shower cake with a baby’s head popping out of a vagina and blood dripping down on it? The minute I saw that joke, I was disgusted.

I have the same analogy of watching “Like a Boss,” as my mother would for watching different versions of “Real Housewives.” I’m a smart person watching stupid women. Now, Greta Gerwig’s recent take on “Little Women” gave them their intelligence and independence, and we deserve movie women like them. Whereas this desperate comedy has a variety of talented actors who talk like aliens, and humiliate themselves in the process.

The only star in the film that does work for me is Tiffany Haddish who co-stars with Rose Byrne as Mia & Mel, the owners of the struggling cosmetics shop “Mia & Mel” (so it’s like an M&M, get it?), who have been best friends since school. They have generic co-workers, like the divorced Sydney (Jennifer Coolidge) and the gay Barrett (Billy Porter), and they’re in major debt.

Haddish uses her dialogue and attitude to make her character Mia a human, while the usually talented Byrne places her character Mel in awkward positions, like when a guy she slept with last night asks if she’ll call him or when she dances with some party girls. And the scene when she accidentally drops a joint in a baby’s crib, and Mia takes a picture of it isn’t as humorous as intended. It looks better in the trailers as far as I’m concerned.

Mia is the only one who would rather keep their business as part of their friendship, while Mel is eager when the nasty and shallow cosmetic mogul Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) plans to buy 51% of their company. If you ask me, the Hayek character is so demeaning, you’d rather see her in “Wild Wild West,” then bump breasts with Coolidge in a fight.

You also get an all-star cast, including Ryan Hansen and Jimmy O. Yang as two straight cosmetic pros, Lisa Kudrow cameoing as Claire’s ex-partner, Karan Soni as Claire’s right-hand-man, Jacob Latimore as Mia’s younger sex buddy, and Jessica St. Clair as the dopey expecting mother I’ve mentioned on top. All of them are weak, bland, and just plain annoying.

And “Like a Boss” was directed by Miguel Arteta, who made much more well-meaning films in the past like “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” and “Beatriz at Dinner.” Here, he’s lost his way in the typical stereotype that when chick flicks are directed by men, they always have to degrade women, as if audiences are stupid enough to enjoy them.

Again, Haddish is the only sane actress in the movie, and I did smile when she deals with Claire’s drones, which she thinks are birds, and tries and fails to break one of them. But not even she could tame Byrne, Hayek, or any other wasted talented in this book-injected headache of a picture.

Something tells me I might see something worse this later year, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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