Updated: Mar 21, 2020
Review 2020 Like a Boss January 17
Like a Boss gets dinged badly in review aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes because it falls in that “coulda-woulda-shouda” category of expectations. Its talented group of creators coulda-woulda-shouda done so much more together.
Previously, Director Miguel Arteta and supporting player Salma Hayak blended humor and social commentary with Beatriz at Dinner. Meanwhile, lead actress Tiffany Haddish won fans and critical acclaim with her frenetic and outrageous antics in Girls Trip. Since co-star Rose Byrne holds her own in many comedies like Neighbors, odds seemed stacked in favor of Like a Boss winning points for laughs and meaningful edge. It turns out that word “stacked” applies only to Hayak’s chest, a pointed part of both dialogue and pratfalls. The movie’s focus on body parts sidetracks opportunities to truly explore the plot’s two basic conceits. One plot element celebrates women as friends rather than catty competitors. The other plot point looks at challenges faced by women who break into a ruthless corporate world and fight to succeed. Both concepts seem ripe for combining funny moments and sincere exploration.
However, Like a Boss explores no new ground. It misses ties with plausibility as characters jump headfirst into totally unlikely situations. Sure, fantasy often fits into farcical comedy, but some tie with believability and consistent behavior helps action flow when pretending to present a real-world subject.
Instead, Like a Boss takes its implausible plot line and fills it with vomit and other gags found in plenty of other forgettable comedies headlined by famous men. Sure, the women throw up and toss out sex jokes as well as any guy, generating some hoots and giggles along the way. Drop the expectations, and Like a Boss delivers a few moments of comic escape. But…it coulda… Oh well, it didn’t.