The first comedy of 2020 is a movie worth rooting for. Considering the state of the world, the country, and what we’re inundated with via the media, everybody could use a break and a few laughs.
You can’t always wish something like that into being, but “Like a Boss” delivers a solid opening twenty minutes, and a few laughs, here and there, after that. Just not enough.
“Like a Boss” has Tiffany Haddish in full R-rated “Girls Trip” mode, is Mia, all mouthy and libidinous and “Put that in your purse. You’re a WHITE woman. You will NOT go to jail!” And “My PayLess bogos is about to be in a meeting in your ASS!” You know, THAT Tiffany.
Rose Byrne (“Bridesmaids,” “Neighbors,” “Get Him to the Greek”) plays Mel, lifelong friend, partner in their struggling M&M craft cosmetics start-up, a true-blue friend whose purse is the perfect place to stash something because “You will NOT go to jail,” remember?
And Salma Hayek, turning herself into a red-headed, big-toothed cartoon of her image, plays the cosmetics mogul who might be getting something from PayLess deposited in her derriere.
“You remind me of myself — when I was whiny, weak and lame.”
Singer/actor Billy Porter of TV’s “Pose” plays the flamboyant makeup-mixing pal to M and the other M, and Jennifer Coolidge is also on their team, running the tiny Atlanta store from which these two late-bloomers hope to build a cosmetics empire.
They’re underwhelming their rich Buckhead gal-pal peers (Ari Graynor among) and in debt up to their eyeballs. But they had this one great idea, a “One Night Stand” makeup kit. And that’s gotten the attention of Claire Luna (Hayek), the fiery chief of Oviedo Cosmetics. She wants to buy them out.
We know all this from the movie’s trailers. But the two dudes who wrote this script, and the dude who directed it, make that courtship — and Claire’s efforts to “break the two of them apart” — the whole movie.
The culture clash of corporate cosmetics vs the personalized “We want (women) to shine from the inside out” ethos of M&M doesn’t deliver nearly the laughs it should.
Claire’s lectures about how to be “Like a Boss,” avoiding getting sentimental about customers, products or employees go only as far as Hayek’s exaggerated (and funny) accent can take them. ”
“Steeetch that on a PEEElow and put it on Eeeeeetsy.”
Porter has an amusing moment or two, Coolidge plays the same character she’s been trotting out since “American Pie” and the picture staggers to a near halt for its middle acts.
You don’t have to visit the IMDb page’s credits to see evidence of serious re-edits. It’s only 83 minutes long, and a major third act “surprise” character was recast.
If only the players involved wielded enough clout to get this re-written, maybe bring a female funnywoman’s sensibility to the script. We’ve seen this rude and raw-dog “just like a man” sort of raunchy farce before, in films which Haddish and Byrne got famous for. “Like a Boss” needed something fresher, something funnier and probably a lot more hilarity from Haddish and Hayek.
MPAA Rating: R for language, crude sexual material, and drug use
Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter and Jennifer Coolidge.
Credits: Directed by Miguel Arteta, script by Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly. A Paramount release.
Running time: 1:23