I’ve never really been a big fan of Melissa McCarthy, which is something I’ve written about before. She definitely has a routine that she falls back on, and I’m just not a fan of it. Lots of other people are, so she’s definitely doing something right, but for me, the prospect of her making another film where she’s almost certainly going to be playing the same character again was not particularly appealing. This film is also pretty light on co-stars, with Kristen Bell having the biggest supporting role, and Peter Dinklage being all but absent from any marketing, so there’s little chance of somebody saving this film the way Jason Statham saved Spy.
Michelle Darnell is one of the richest women in America, and she’s completely self-made. After Renault (Peter Dinklage), a rival businessman, gets her arrested for insider trading, she spends a number of months in jail, and when she gets out, she has no money, and nowhere to live. After taking her former assistant Claire’s daughter to a dandelion meeting (a clear analogue for brownies), she has an idea for a new business empire – selling cookies across America.
Like a lot of comedies, this film starts pretty well. Without having the meat of a plot or any exposition to drag it down, the first few scenes, particularly the very opening, have good solid comedy. Melissa McCarthy is doing her usual loud, brash routine, but the material she’s working with (or possibly her improvisations) are better than usual. Michelle Darnell is a funny character who feels like she could exist in real life, which always helps to ground a character and justify their more ridiculous actions.
The rest of the actors don’t really stand out, with Peter Dinklage and Kristen Bell both giving unmemorable performances. The only slight exception is Saturday Night Live regular Cecily Strong, who’s only in a few scenes, but shows that she’s able to hold her own with some industry heavyweights.
There’s a noticeable moment that The Boss slows down, and that’s when the plot needs to start moving forward. These moments aren’t handled quite as well, with the script feeling like it didn’t exactly know where it was going at times, and the moments that are meant to be dramatic and emotional feeling like forced drama. There was even one moment that I found myself checking the time, only to find out there was still an hour of the film left.
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