“Like a Boss” stars Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Coolidge, Natasha Rothwell, Billy Porter, and Salma Hayek. Released on January 10, 2020, the film has two friends getting even with their benefactor when she starts stealing their ideas.
The film is directed by Miguel Arteta, who also directed films such as “The Good Girl”, “Youth in Revolt”, “Cedar Rapids”, and “Duck Butter”. Here’s a thing about partners working on a business together. There are times where people will have different ideas as to how to make their company successful. Some might agree, some might disagree, and some might go a little too far with their disagreements. If they have a partner who steals their ideas and pass them off as their own, then these disagreements can turn sour really quickly. It just goes to show that not all people are made to have the same ideas as one another. After exposing myself to some chills and thrills during the first two weekends of the new year, I am finally able to watch something that’s more light-hearted and comedic. The film’s director, Miguel Arteta, has his share of ups and downs when it comes to his filmography. He has made some very good films like “Youth in Revolt”, and there are some films that he directed that weren’t exactly on par with his best works, but were tolerable at best, in terms of critical reception. The only film I’ve seen from the director before “Like a Boss” was the 2014 film adaptation of the children’s book, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, which I thought was sweet and heartwarming. So now he’s taking a shot at helming an R-rated comedy that is determined to get some laughs during the time where Hollywood likes to dump some lesser-known films into the first month of the new year. Surely it can’t be as bad as the last two films I’ve suffered through, right?
The story follows Mia Carter (Haddish) and Mel Paige (Byrne), two close friends with different personalities who run a beauty company together called…you guessed it, “Mel & Mia’s”. While Mia is more of a get-rich-quick kind of gal, Mel is the kind of partner who is practical and business-savvy. When their company runs into debt, they turn to cosmetics mogul Claire Luna (Hayek) who promises she can save their business. They later find out that Luna is secretly planning on taking over their company and ruining their friendship, forcing them to show her who’s the real boss. Clocking in at around 83 minutes (which is quite short for a comedy), “Like a Boss” wasted no time in getting the story across and gathering some chuckles. While it did show some promise in the first half, which had some pretty humorous jokes, it somehow struggled to provide a fairly-balanced mixture of comedy and heart throughout the rest of the film. To its credit, “Like a Boss” offered a pretty solid message about friendship and how it is affected by working in a business together. Sure, the script was corny at times and the plot was very limited on how far it can go with the raunchy humor and its energy, but I got a good smile out of what they’re attempting to do. Aside from that, this is the type of comedy that’s both underwhelming and tolerable without being one or the other. What made the film tolerable for me was the two main leads, Haddish and Byrne. Even though the film wasn’t as energetic and hilarious as I was hoping it would be, these two ladies had enough star power to keep this business from collapsing. Haddish is exactly what you’d expect from her, and Byrne still proves that she’s one of the most underrated actresses in recent years in terms of her brand of humor. As for the supporting cast, they didn’t exactly do much to keep up with the main leads. Coolidge and Porter were fine in their roles despite their jokes falling flat, and Hayek clearly had some talent as Claire, but her character came off as either one-dimensional or irritating or both. I get what they’re trying to do with this character, which is to make her the type of person who cares more about business than friendship, but it just didn’t work for me. There are mean-spirited characters who are bearable and full of charm, and there are mean-spirited characters who make you want to throw them out the window. Claire Luna is the example of the latter.
Overall, “Like a Boss” is a stale comedy that’s more ugly than beautiful. Haddish and Byrne have enough talent to keep the business running and its message about friendship is obviously sweet. Other than that, it didn’t have a lot of strong reasons as to why we should buy this product immediately. The plot was disappointing, the humor wasn’t as fun as I expected despite its promising first act, and Hayek’s character was just unbearable. It’s more tolerable than the likes of “The Grudge” and “Underwater”, but that’s not saying much. Considering the fact that it was helmed by the director who had plenty of good movies under his belt, this film could’ve been a lot better than what I got now. If you're interested in seeing this because of the two main leads, I would say that it’s worth watching at home.