I don’t know why Rose Byrne keeps trying to do comedy.
From “Bridesmaids” to “Spy” and now “Like a Boss“, she is always the weakest link, overdoing it with ridiculous characterisations that have no basis in any multiverse of reality, simple or surreal. Couple that with Tiffany Haddish who I would like to see play something other than herself (You rocked “Girls Trip” but let’s see another colour on you please please please) and, I’ll be honest, I’m really happy I did not have to pay to see this film.
Byrne and Haddish play best friends Mia and Mel who run their own fledgeling cosmetics company. As a result of being nearly half a million dollars in debt with the company, the prospect of a buyout offer from an industry titan (portrayed quite brilliantly by Salma Hayek) proves too tempting to pass up. The beauty business is now about to get ugly as the proposal puts Mia and Mel’s lifelong friendship to the ultimate test.
I am entirely for female-led , Bechtel passing stories that mean we talk about something other than men on screen. But if you’re going to do it, do it well. The writing in this, I have to believe, is non-existent, basically asking Haddish to just say whatever comes to her mind whilst everyone else is told to pick a characteristic/archetype and stick to it. Like a Boss tries too hard with very little to show for it. There are only two saving graces in this film. The first, as I have already mentioned, is Salma Hayek (The Hummingbird Project) as Clara Luna. She runs with the ridiculous and never apologises for it nor goes too over the top. Her comedic beats are subtle and as a result, she is scene-stealing every time. The second saving grace is the one and only Her Royal Majesty, Billy Porter (Pose) It is impossible for this man to be anything other than phenomenal. He is so rooted in the present of every scene he is in that every choice of his, even a full one-minute silent storm off where he snaps that we must “Witness. His. Tragic. Moment”, is believable and not remotely milking anything. He is a true and classic Queen.
It’s sad that this film promised a fair bit but failed to deliver. Even films where the story flows almost entirely around men as a topic like “Someone Great” (2019) did are much better and more captivating watches because the dynamic between the lead three actresses is flawless and the distinctive characteristics they pursue for their characters are not beaten to death like they are here. One wonders if any of the actors in “Like a Boss” were actually listening to each other or were just waiting to say their lines without a thought.
Like a Boss is in UK Cinemas Friday 21st February 2020