Today is the feast of St Valentine – a time when we traditionally celebrate romance, spend money on things that are red and pink, then float around in a bubble of love. Or spend feeling totally crap about a lack of cards, love interests and subsequent cold shrivelled heart.
Happily, we are members of Generation X so Queen of the small screen Oprah Winfrey taught us how to love ourselves. This weekend we encourage you to carry out the ultimate act of self-love and self-preservation: avoid Like a Boss like a discounted supermarket bouquet.
Best friends Mel (Rose Byrne) and Mia (Tiffany Haddish) have been inseparable since middle school, sharing the same hopes, dreams and love for make-up. With a bond as close as sisterhood since a (peculiarly casually referenced) family tragedy forced the two to live together, they formed their company Mel & Mia’s and prepared to take the world by storm.
Unfortunately, the world failed to notice and a tsunami of debt is about to take their company down. It is pure serendipity then that angel investor and cosmetics mogul Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) should swoop in to save the day. With her input and industry clout, Mel & Mia’s finally can make it to the next level and the BFFs can watch their childhood dreams come true.
Or not. Claire Luna’s insincere smile, tactical deployment of cleavage and fright wig are the window dressing for a very wicked woman. A fact entertainingly pantomimed by her put-upon assistant Josh (Karan Soni) in one of the film’s few genuinely well-judged performances. Of course, the warning signs are ignored and the women gamble their friendship and company on a rigged game.
For the first few minutes, it feels as though Like a Boss is going to exceed expectation and be mildly entertaining. The notion of a movie which celebrates female friendship and women in business – albeit through the medium of cheesy comedy – is still refreshing enough to take a risk on. And Haddish and Byrne have charisma to spare so their onscreen pairing should be a dream.
It is not.
Like a Boss is like a dumpster fire: the colours are pretty but ultimately it’s just a hot mess.
For a start it is wasteful. Anyone who squanders Billy Porter by shoehorning him into a one-dimensional sidekick role deserves to be immersed in a vat of lip gloss until they beg for mercy. And he STILL delivers I am transcending this shoddy script to remind you that there’s still good in this world realness because that man is a gift.
Like a Boss also woefully misunderstands the way actual women interact. Writers Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly are partially to blame, their screenplay puts adults into painfully juvenile situations then lacks the ovaries to fully commit to its own stupidity. But the entire production is just wrong. Miguel Arteta’s pedestrian direction makes the feature look like a poorly blocked sitcom and Jennifer Coolidge as a ‘hilarious’ co-worker barely seems aware which set she’s on.
Like a Boss was misconceived from start to finish. Mel and Mia’s relationship is not believable, the stakes are not credible, the baby shower vagina cake is actually a vulva (know your bits), the leads are too old to make whacky life choices cute or realistic and I Feel Pretty already did the “be your true self, yay friends, yay make-up!” schtick back in 2018. The category is…movies to wait and see on DVD…
Like a Boss previews on February 14th and opens across the UK on February 21st