Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne collaborate with director Miguel Areta for the first comedy of 2020, Paramount Pictures, Like a Boss. Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are two best friends who decide to start a beauty company called Mel and Mia’s. Mel is business savvy, yet she lacks confidence in herself. Mia, on the other hand, has a larger than life personality and is looking to get rich quickly. Despite their different personality types, the two work well together.
When an economic calamity occurs, the company ends up in debt. Before long, the twosome meets cosmetics tycoon Claire Luna (Salma Hayek). Initially appearing to have a kind heart, Claire promises to help out Mia and Mel. Little does, the dyad of friends know that Claire is a cutthroat benefactor, and she plans on stealing Mia and Mel’s products and ideas for her company.
Mia and Mel then must seek the help of their employees and friends to take down Claire and save their company. Like a Boss started with a simple pitch from its writers Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly. The idea was an odd-couple comedy with female leads that combines the vulgarity of Superbad mixed with the heart of Bridesmaids. Paramount Pictures specifically bought the pitch for rising star Haddish back in 2018.
Fresh off her game-changing dramatic turn in last summer’s little-seen, The Kitchen, Haddish makes a return to her comedy roots with Like a Boss. While some find Haddish to either be a stereotype or not funny, I, for one, have enjoyed seeing her rise to the top. Given the right material, Tiffany Haddish can truly shine.
Sadly in Like a Boss, Haddish’s talent never realizes its full potential. Haddish isn’t a one-note comedian actress, yet she falls into that archetype in Like a Boss. Director Miguel Arteta should’ve swapped the character roles for Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish. With her performance in 2018’s political satire, The Oath, Haddish went against type, portraying a character with a laid back personality while Rose Byrne showed a talent for displaying wild behavior in last year’s Jexi.
I will say the real highlight of the film is Salma Hayek’s villain Claire. Hayek provides some of the film’s best moments as the boss from hell, particularly in her scenes with her assistant Josh (Karan Soni). The rest of the supporting cast is pretty much on autopilot for the majority of the film. Billy Porter’s character of Barrett has some quotable lines; some fans may feel that Porter is just portraying himself. While the trio of Jessica St. Clair, Ari Graynor, and Natasha Rothwell, who make up Mia and Mel’s friends, are only here for a check.
I’m a firm believer that comedy is subjective and what one person finds funny, the next may not. There were a few laughs out loud moments during Like a Boss, but most of those jokes are in the trailer. Nevertheless, Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne do have great chemistry together on screen, and hopefully, in the future, they have another project.
Like a Boss won’t go down in history as a great comedy and will probably be a distant memory before 2020 ends. Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne deserve better, as do their fans. Wait for streaming on this one.
Final Grade C-