Written by: Sam Pitman & Adam Cole-Kelly
Starring: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Coolidge, Billy Porter, Salma Hayek
As tempting as it may be, mixing personal relationships with business should be avoided even if the opportunity to make money with those you love sounds like the dream. The decisions made in the business sphere may not have the same process and the results could cause incredible damage on the other side. This lesson gets forced upon these two best friends in Like a Boss as they try to do what’s best for their company.
Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) have been best friends for decades and they own the beauty brand of Mia & Mel, a company focused on the empowerment of its customers. While their company means well and has the small-business feel, they have accrued hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Due to the success of their recent item, the cosmetics mogul, Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has offered to pay off their debt for part ownership of the company, which puts the friendship between Mia and Mel at risk.
Going into a film of this stature with the promotional material it released, one should have low expectations because the studio behind it certainly did not hold much confidence in it. Like a Boss is a January comedy and we can only hope it provides some chuckles as it attempts to stumble its way through its story. Surprisingly enough, while not being a good movie, this film has a good message and genuinely has some funny moments throughout.
The key to any comedy succeeding comes from the writing and the talent attached, as any improvisational skills they have can supplement what they receive from the screenplay. Like a Boss has the services of Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne, who have both proven they can comedically energize comedies as seen through Girls Trip and Bridesmaids respectively. Putting them front and center in this comedy allowed for their sensibilities to bounce off one another and they were able to develop some good chemistry despite the subpar material they were handed. In the story, Mel handles the finances while Mia harbors all of the creative juices to construct all of their products. This combination has worked out well for them with the fulfillment of owning this business, but unfortunately not on the financial side.
The big bad of the feature is the cunning Claire Luna, as she offers what seems to be a lifeline for their business, which could pay dividends by having the financial security and brand recognition of being under the mogul’s label. Salma Hayek clearly realized the lack of substance of this character and had some fun with the absurdity of it all. Outside of some good jokes, the villainous character has the intention of breaking up Mia and Mel, because she strongly believes mixing friendships and business never leads to success. Once the story shifts to inevitably attempting to break them up is where Like a Boss begins to lose its steam. The fights had by Mia and Mel become eye-roll-inducing and thus the second act loses almost all of the goodwill built out in the first 30 minutes.
Outside of the main cast, the side characters added some fun tidbits including Billy Porter as Barrett, who has the best moment of the trailer and it lands just as well in the movie. The best of all side characters by far is Sydney portrayed by the always lovely Jennifer Coolidge. I looked forward to every single time she showed up on screen as it guaranteed I would get a good laugh. She happens to be in her own world and everything she says is pure gold. Additionally, Natasha Rothwell as one of Mia and Mel’s friend totally steals every scene she’s in as well. One particular line delivery when feeding one character a particular drink, unfortunately, fell to the cutting room floor but demonstrates she deserves her own film.
I guess I found myself enjoying the side characters more than the protagonists, which may be one of the larger issues with Like a Boss. The message about the importance of friendship and how women do their makeup for themselves and their friends rather than the affection of men rings true. Unfortunately, the film steered away to make some low-hanging fruit jokes, specifically some directed towards Latinx women. I would not glowingly recommend this film to anyone but you could definitely do much worse than Like a Boss. Enjoy its bright moments, zone out during the more pointless bits, and this film leaves you feeling warm with its genuinely lovely message.