Like a Boss (2020)

Genres - Comedy  |   Release Date - Jan 10, 2020 (USA)  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Like A Boss is a shallow, middling comedy with a few good laughs buried in a barrage of snickers. This toothless buddy story about beauty and brains can't seem to figure out how to combine the talented cast with a worthless script, and no amount of makeup can fix that.

Childhood besties Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are living their dream: they are the bosses of their own company, and have miraculously managed to stay single with their carefree attitude towards romance. They even share an apartment.

The company itself is an ethical line of beauty products focused empowering women by emphasizing their true beauty. Mia and Mel would even give it away if they could, because they truly value women, and are trying to do the right thing.

But there's a dirty secret in their friendship. The company is in a significant amount of debt, and while Mel is aware of this, there's no clear path to ever recouping that money with their current business plan.

Claire (Salma Hayek) is a wealthy business executive willing to do whatever it takes to get on top, and stay there. Her business acumen trumps her ethics, so she proposes a deal where she will help to pay off Mia and Mel's debt plus significantly bolster their company's finances, and only come in as a 49% shareholder of the company. But there's one sneaky catch, which is: if their friendship falters and one of them quits the company, then Claire will be a 51% shareholder.

Director Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) has already proven himself to make critical and commercially successful films and television. He seems comfortable here to shrug his shoulders and allow Like A Boss to happen solely on the talent of the actors, who do continuously bring fine performances throughout.

The real problem in Like A Boss is the story itself, or lack thereof. The low concept challenge of a corporate exec trying to split up a friendship to steal their company is mired by a constant neutering of Claire's power as a woman: she uses her body to achieve financial success and despite her business smarts, she lacks emotional intelligence.

The fairly new writers Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly (Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television) aren't sure how to add meaning to their story, nor how to portray women who are well-rounded more than physically. As the amateur plot device runs out of steam, Like A Boss is left with a two dimensional peek into the lives of people not worth caring about because there's nothing going on for them underneath the makeup.

Ultimately there are a few solid laughs and no significant drama here. While Like A Boss might evoke as many smiles as it does embarrassed head shakes, it fails to live up to its own first ten minutes that promises something better, and under delivers. Neither edgy, nor empowering of women, this forgettable, vapid comedy is worth missing on the big screen, but may be the perfect movie for a date at home where the intention is to not finish the film.