By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
“Like A Boss,”
from director Miguel Arteta (“Beatriz at Dinner”) is the first, new comedy of 2020. It’s pretty funny and incredibly raunchy too.
Tiffany Haddish--who also co-produced the R-rated film--delivers much of the salacious hilarity alongside a comical Rose Byrne (Upcoming, “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”).
In “Like a Boss,” Haddish and Byrne star as lifelong best friends, Mia Carter and Mel Paige. They’ve been through some rough times, but always come out on top. They own the Atlanta beauty supply company Mel & Mia’s and have their own successful cosmetics line.
Mia (Haddish) has a more relaxed approach to running the business. However, Mel (Byrne) is a bit more guarded and works hard to make sure everything runs smoothly. So, you can imagine her surprise when she discovers that their beloved company is in debt, to the tune of nearly $500,000.
What happened? It’s a long story.
The pressure to keep up their successful business image charade becomes increasingly difficult for Mia and Mel because their jealous-in-a- good-way and married with kids best friends, Jill (Natasha Rothwell, TV’s “Bob’s Burger”), Kim (Jessica St. Clair, TV’s “Bless This Mess”) and Angela (Ari Graynor, TV’s “SMILF”) are so proud of them. They wish they had their lifestyles.
Consequently, Mel decides to keep the bad news from Mia and her other loyal employees Barrett (a funny and flamboyant, Billy Porter, TV’s “Pose”) and Sydney (a sassy Jennifer Coolidge, “Swan Song”).
It’s going to take a miracle to come up with that kind of cash. If Mel can’t, it means they’ll have to call it quits. However, their miracle comes when a feisty, billionaire cosmetics queen named Claire Luna, (played with fierce outrageousness by Salma Hayek, “The Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard”) meets with Mia and Mel to discuss their financial situation. Of course, Claire knows the cosmetics business inside and out.
She’s been following the young women’s small company and admires their drive and success. Claire tells them her plan is to revamp their line, grow their brand and make them very wealthy in the process. Oh Wait. There’s a catch. Claire wants 49 percent ownership of Mel & Mia’s and 51 percent if their friendship goes south once the money starts flowing. According to Claire, friends don’t make good business partners. Money most always comes between even the best friendships. So, Claire believes that 51 percent is coming her way soon.
Claire is a real firecracker. A big, busty, flaming orange haired control freak. There’s a reason she’s known as the “Angry Carrot.” She doesn’t speak softly--or clearly for that matter-- but she does carry a big stick, or rather a golf club. It’s mainly for show and used for her “smashing” talking points.
Mia doesn’t like Claire’s vibe at all. Mel isn’t crazy about her either, but the deal—although it’s not a good one--would get them out of debt. Mia and Mel reluctantly agree to the terms.
They sign Claire’s contract without really reading it and without a lawyer present. Who does that?
Claire is eager to drive the women apart. Her first demand is for Mia and Mel to fire Barrett (Porter). That kicks off their bickering. It also allows Porter a funny and scene-stealing "witness my tragic moment" line that’s all that and more.
I’m convinced that in the hands of a director/screenwriter like Preston A. Whitmore II, Will Packer or Tim Story, “Like a Boss” would have packed even more of a comedic punch.
Yet, even when the hi-jinks and jokes don’t always hit the mark, the film’s “Ride or Die” message of friendship and loyalty--which is convincingly sold by Haddish and Byrne--shines through and elevates "Like a Boss."
On Jan. 10 I'll be off air for my movie segment on The Kitty O'Neal Show (KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM). I'm headed to Los Angeles for the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards which air Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. (ET/PT) on the CW Network. Be sure to tune in as Eddie Murphy will be honored with "The Lifetime Achievement Award" and "The Irishman" and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" will battle for "Best Picture."
Take A Peek At This Trailer For "LIKE A BOSS"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.