by Louisa Moore - Screen Zealots - Is this helpful?
The dead of winter is the time studios like to shove their bottom-basement junk into theaters, bringing us movies that are instantly forgettable and brimming with mediocrity. The female-driven buddy comedy “Like A Boss” is a great example. This tolerable movie is perfectly fine for a mindless girls’ night out, but it never sets its standards high enough to achieve much more. But why would it?
Best friends Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are living their best lives running a makeup company they’ve built from the ground up. Things haven’t been going so well on the financial front, and the women find themselves over their heads in debt. When cosmetics industry titan Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) presents them with a huge buyout offer, it puts a strain on their friendship that the two may not ever be able to repair.
If you’re looking for a fun and insightful view at the real-life experience of female business owners, you won’t find it here. What you will find is yet another male-written movie that feeds the narrative that the beauty industry equals female empowerment. It’s not offensive, but it’s a stale idea. How many movies can you count that use the old “you need makeup to feel pretty, but also never forget to be yourself!” narrative? It’s not offensive, but it’s another Hollywood rubber stamp on what the industry thinks are the ingredients necessary for a movie that’s supposed to be made for women.
The comedy is sometimes funny but mostly strained, as Haddish and Byrne are constantly struggling in an effort to sell the lousy one-liners. Their chemistry is terrific, but there’s only so much these two talented ladies can do with such a lackluster script. Hayek is an over-the-top caricature who is given very little to do. Her shtick can be amusing in the right place at the right time, but it isn’t here.
This isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s light years away from being an instant classic. In fact, this tired effort wouldn’t even orbit the general conversation. But “Like a Boss” is still just barely good enough if you are a fan of the two leads or if you’re looking for easy-to-swallow entertainment.