Dan's Review: Nothing to Like about "Like a Boss"
Jan 10, 2020 12:08AM
By Dan Metcalf
Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish in Like a Boss - © 2020 Paramount.
Like a Boss (Paramount)
Rated R for language, crude sexual material, and drug use.
Starring Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Coolidge, Billy Porter, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair, Karan Soni, Jacob Latimore, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, Seth Rollins, Veronica Merrell, Vanessa Merrell, Caroline Arapoglou.
Written by Sam Pitman, Adam Cole-Kelly, and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel.
Directed by Miguel Arteta.
January is a traditional movie wasteland. It’s the month after the holidays, when major studios release their blockbusters and awards bait films; a time when people do not travel or take vacations and are forced to return to the drudgery of work, school, and other cold-weather activities, like staying indoors while watching football and avoiding the inevitable cold and flu that lurks around every office or classroom. It’s also the month where studios dump films that they little confidence in because they went to a lot of expense to make them but are still contractually obligated to try and recoup some of their expenses. It’s also where Like a Boss has been disposed, a soulless comedy about two hapless women trying to make their mark in the cosmetics industry.
It stars Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as Mia and Mel, two life-long pals who turned their love for beauty products into a garage startup with modest success running their own boutique in downtown Atlanta. When their business model starts to fail, they are scouted by Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), a successful cosmetics mogul who wants to buy half of Mia and Mel’s business by paying off their debts and splitting their profits. Claire’s dubious plan is to break the friendship and take all of the profits in a hostile takeover. Mia has reservations, but Mel wants to break out of her submissive mold and take the company to new heights. They agree to Claire’s terms but are blindsided by her plot to create tension between Mia and Mel, which will lead to their eventual break-up. Her evil plans seem to work until Mia and Mel come to their senses and fight back, even though they might lose everything.
If that plot description sounds pedestrian and barely worthy of a Hallmark or direct-to-video B-movie, I didn’t do Like a Boss any justice, because it’s actually worse than that. What it lacks in plot, Like a Boss fills in the gaps with cringe-worthy sight gags, gratuitous drug/alcohol consumption, and a litany of excruciating sexual references. It would seem that the screenwriters thought they could crap out a concept, make a list of names and euphemisms for genitalia and stick a quarter in Tiffany Haddish, hoping her endless tirades of “sassy-girl” gutter language would carry the day. It’s a shame and waste of talent for gifted actors like Haddish and Byrne, who are unable to overcome the lazy concept and script. I barely mentioned Hayek, who is painfully miscast as a cartoonish character adorned with fake teeth, hair, eye color, and other body parts while trying and failing to behave as a flamboyant villain.
As if the post-holiday release date weren’t indicative enough of how little Paramount thought of Like a Boss, please consider that it was filmed more than a year ago and held from a summer 2019 opening. Yes, January is the dumping ground for terrible movies, and nothing proves it more than Like a Boss, a truly unlikeable comedy that lacks any semblance of nuance or taste. Springtime can’t come soon enough.
"Like a Boss" Trailer