Current Issue #488

Film Review:
Like A Boss

Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne in Like A Boss

This woefully unfunny American number comes from Puerto Rican director Miguel Arteta, and features a bunch of players almost daring you to laugh.

Although Arteta’s other pics include the fair family film Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and the darker and far more serious Beatriz At Dinner, his latest looks like it was cobbled together from sub-par outtakes on a slow Saturday afternoon. And, while Arteta’s vague cred has allowed him to assemble a fairly solid cast, they’re all damn awful.

Besties and roomies Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) set the tone by awakening one morning and having a ghastly, crudely ‘comic’ chat about the former’s sex dreams featuring Barack Obama, before they set off to work at their own cosmetics firm. Killing screen time with campy Barrett (Billy Porter, fresh from a star turn in TV’s Pose) and dim Sydney (Jennifer Coolidge), they’re eventually summoned to the glitzy offices of bigtime make-up millionaire Claire Luna, and she’s played, of course, by a wildly over-the-top Salma Hayek (star of Arteta’s Beatriz At Dinner).

Luna wants to get involved in Mia and Mel’s business and become a partner, and while the gals endlessly argue, it’s made abundantly clear that she secretly intends to destroy them financially and ruin their friendship. But why? Who knows! It makes as much sense as anything else here, and there wouldn’t be a film without it, so let’s move on.

The plot then bounces wearily around as Mia and Mel impress Luna, then upset her, then find themselves in desperate trouble, and then turn against each other (you can fill in the rest of the dots), with ramshackle scene jarringly following ramshackle scene. Connective bits seem to have been chopped out with a razor, which also therefore means that we bounce bewilderingly all over the place, and what could have been simply a hopelessly predictable giggler is instead transformed into a ludicrous mess.

And who gives the worst performance? It’s not the overbearing Haddish, or the hammy Hayek in a bizarre, luminously orange wig. No, that would have to be Byrne, who tries to quietly underplay and leave the grotesque overacting to everyone else, but still winds up looking dreadfully embarrassed.

The argument seems to be that, perhaps, it’s a sign of growing equality that women-driven films are capable of being just as crass, mediocre and undercooked as the reliable stream of ageing bro comedies that fill our screens each year. But really, everyone deserves better than this kind of unmitigated woofer. You’re all fired!

Reviewer Rating

Like A Boss (M) is in cinemas now

DM Bradley

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