The Boss

Out Now On-Demand

Watch your assets.

Melissa McCarthy is a titan of industry sent to prison after she's caught for insider trading in this comedy from the director of Tammy. She emerges ready to rebrand herself as America's latest sweetheart, but those she screwed over are not so quick to forgive. Co-stars Peter Dinklage, Kristen Bell and Kathy Bates.

The buoyant chemistry between Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell keeps this slight comedy afloat in the face of a thin storyline and an uneven tone. In full-on firecracker mode, the limber McCarthy is clearly enjoying herself revisiting a character she first developed in her days as an improv performer with the famed Groundlings troupe.

The actor has the ability to spin comedic gold from the shallowest of premises, and she puts that ability to good use throughout several set-pieces here, the most notable of which involves her mouth being awkwardly propped open as she gets her teeth whitened by the put-upon Bell.

Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911!, BoJack Horseman) is on fine form, albeit briefly, as McCarthy's sycophantic bodyguard, Tito, and other small roles are filled by welcome supporting players like Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live), Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) and Bridesmaids screenwriter Annie Mumulo, who played opposite McCarthy in the actor's breakout airplane scene in the 2010 smash hit comedy. Peter Dinklage also goes all out with another nutty accent.

Elsewhere, the increasingly ubiquitious ‘character-gets-flung-across-the-room-via-CGI-trope’ (à la Bad Neighbours' airbag gag) is rolled out, indicative of the desperate nature of much of the comedy here. Although this satisfied my minimum requirement of three laugh-out-loud moments (they're more like elevated snickers), the pleasures it offers are ultimately a little more ephemeral than the earnest character arcs seem to intend.

The talent on-screen keeps things watchable, but you'll have forgotten the whole thing by the time you reach the parking lot.

Rolling Stone (USA)

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Hit and miss. But when it hits, yowsa.

Variety (USA)

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McCarthy coaxes forth just about every laugh and stray chuckle that could possibly have been extracted from the material.

Hollywood Reporter

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Its paper-thin characterizations, hackneyed plotting and overdependence on viciously profane humor put this effort more in the minor league of Tammy...

Guardian (UK)

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Many of The Boss’s troubles stem from its constant, unpredictable shifts in tone.

Washington Post

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McCarthy is capable of much more than she’s allowing herself to do here.

Time Out New York

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McCarthy can't save a comedy that wastes her gifts on a clichéd story of belated conscience.

New York Times

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Sometimes it's pleasurable enough just watching the most unlikely American comedy star since Bill Murray slip into a groove.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

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As one character says of Michelle, "you're such a cliche".