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:: The Boss

Melissa McCarthy stars in The Boss, her latest collaboration with her writer/director husband Ben Falcone. This time she’s a high flying businesswoman who falls foul of the insider trading laws and ends up in prison. When she’s released, she’s left with nothing – no money, no house, no possessions – so she has to start from scratch all over again. That means sleeping on her former PA’s sofa bed and finding an idea for a new business. Her inspiration is more local and homespun, but not everybody is enthusiastic about her new enterprise. Including the man who had her put in jail in the first place.

And the fact this is both written and directed by McCarthy’s husband says it all. It’s nothing more than a vehicle for her and her particular brand of humour. She gets all the best lines – what there are of them – and nearly all the best gags, both physical and verbal. There’s an especially good physical one involving the temperamental sofa bed: it inevitably appears in the film’s trailer but happily stands a second look. But the verbal ones have little to recommend them, as they’re just obvious, sexual and crude, and free of any originality or wit. So the result is the occasional weak smile and a sigh of despair at yet another vagina reference. When are you actually going to laugh? This is meant to be a comedy, after all.

The sad thing is that Melissa McCarthy can do a whole lot better than this. We saw it in Spy, where she played the lead but had good comedic support as well. All she has to play against here is her unfailingly nice PA (Kristen Bell). She hogs the entire comedy limelight and the blame for that lies fairly and squarely with Falcone.

Peter Dinklage is equally wasted: we know he’s much better than this. He’s McCarthy’s arch enemy and former lover but his character is simply unbelievable and he ends up being overshadowed as well.

The Boss is tired, formulaic and depressingly unfunny, which makes it for die-hard McCarthy fans only. Yes Mr Falcone, we did notice that your wife’s top businesswoman character has the initials MD.