I laughed a few times during this short, contrived comedy, but mostly at bits I’d already seen in the trailer. And the trailer actually managed to stitch the funny lines together better than the resulting film. Most of the modest hilarity was due to executive producer Tiffany Haddish, whose antics on screen are starting to get old. Still, her overly candid, got-attitude style works more often than not and is still preferable to her serious side, as seen in 2019’s The Kitchen.
Here we have Mia and Mel, played by Haddish and Rose Byrne or is it the other way around? It doesn’t matter. They are lifelong entrepreneurial friends who have started a struggling beauty business with two quirky pals. They are $493,000 in debt by the time they are discovered by the exotic Claire Luna, played to a Jessica Rabbit-esque extreme by Salma Hayek, who proudly proclaims, “My head is not little, it’s just that my breasts are humongous.” She proposes bailing the duo out of debt and investing heavily for a controlling interest in their company. After some negotiations she backs off a bit but then savagely begins pitting the two friends against each other in order to stage her takeover.
Perhaps Hayek wanted to play a lead comic role. She has previously starred as herself, or by way of voice-over (Sausage Party) dabbled in comedy when not playing more respectable roles as she did in 2002’s Frida. Otherwise, the now 53-year-old Latin bombshell’s decision to accept this role is a mystery. She not only did a face-plant pratfall, but also shouted her last word in the film, a screaming F-bomb, that was neither necessary nor funny.
And speaking of embarrassing outings in a parody of the beauty industry, when was the last time you saw Phoebe from Friends on screen? Lisa Kudrow appears briefly at the end of the film as Mia and Mel’s new partner. This is either a cameo or favor to someone. Her name is not even included in IMDb’s credits. Anyway, she looks like she just rolled out of bed or forgot to use the products her fictional company is selling.
Like a Boss is an attempt at a female buddy film, a series of comic sketches in a poorly edited sequence lacking effective segues or a compelling through line. That’s the fault of writers. Rose Byrne has done a variety of work, but was better in Bridesmaids. She looks a bit like Kristen Wiig, who would have been a better foil for Haddish, but perhaps was busy or has better script sense.
We chose to see this movie as a break from a series of darkly serious films, and also because it was playing at a time that worked for our schedule. I can’t even recommend waiting for this to show up on TV. Just skip it. Or see the trailer and call it a day.
Like a Boss (2020) runs 1 hour, 23 minutes and is rated R.
Should I see this movie?