Miguel Arteta’s film is a simple and stupid comedy of which worlds are already hundreds, if not thousands. Everything that happens next is capable of happening almost immediately. But is it really wrong? I would say that the actual comedy is based on rather simple patterns, very rarely trying to somehow go beyond this framework and offer something truly surprising. However, we do not blame them for this. After all, the plot of a comedy is basically just an excuse to throw more jokes at the viewer, to build comic situations.
And there are a lot of those in “Like a Boss”. Some of them even go into the spectator phase! Maybe I’m exaggerating, because after all, I had a bit of a good laugh at least a little, but it doesn’t change to the fact that a lot of jokes in the film are rather poor. It’s full of very unleavened humor. Girls talk about how they like to sit on the faces of their young lovers, that one of them, when she gave birth, got waxed to write an assignment that sex at the prom was a bad idea, because the boy was sweating all over and planted a mycosis on his partner. Some of these jokes even amused me, but I laughed more often when, for example, Mel had put a drone in her bag that she accidentally destroyed and which later wanted to fly out of that bag, or when Barrett, touched, left the festival, dramatizing to the limit. Situational humor. I don’t mind cheap jokes – I grew up on American Pie after all – but it would do well to be better structured, multi-threaded, and somehow meaningful. That even stupid sprinkling of Finch’s laxative in the first American Pie first gave him an incredible embarrassment (to our delight), and at the end was a perfect excuse for revenge (oh, Stifler’s mom …). It was not a one-time, meaningless jump, an intelligently constructed situation that led to something.
Cham’s jokes in “Like a Boss” are not like that. Here something happens in that one particular moment, you are to laugh at it and that’s it. We’re flying on. Take, for example, a few minutes long scene in which girls learn to cook. A pissed off, Mel sprinkles Mia into quite a few chopped ghost peppers (which don’t even resemble real ghosts, if you know the subject). Then Mia eats the peppers, smokes them a lot, everyone panics about helping her, and Mel gets silly. End of the scene. The topic never comes back. Yes, most often humor is presented in Arteta’s film.
Like a Boss (2020) – [Paramount] movie review. Make bottles of wine. Or three
But “Like a Boss” is not only miserable jokes. It’s also a pretty nice story about the power of friendship and how hard it is to fight for it sometimes, even though in the end it’s always worth it. The whole plot of the film is based on the fact that Salma Hayek wants to argue Mia and Mel in order to stick and earn coconuts on the product they invented. Of course, the first students are completely fooled by her, but the answers remind themselves of what is really important in life and come out with a defensive or even victory. This is rehabilitation. Salma will not sue them and let them go with the bags for the number they pulled up at the end of the movie, but the writers don’t care about that anymore. And there were two of them! “Like a Boss” was supposed to be a brave comedy with an interesting, strong theme in the background – the ruthlessness of the world of large corporations was asking for some more interesting development, presenting how unequal or unequal the fight between small companies and big behemoths. Instead, we got a villain so exaggerated, even caricatured that even the Smurfs (the ones with Neil Patrick Harris) more subtle. Let me repeat myself – I do not require the comedy to delight me with the complexity and depth of the story, but since we have already established that humor, in short, does not knock your child down, I try to seek help elsewhere.
“Like a Boss” can certainly be enjoyed. Maybe not sober and certainly not everyone, but there is enough good humor to get over those 80 minutes somehow. The fact that it’s one of the shorter films I’ve seen this year doesn’t bother me either. The story of Mia and Mel is simple but captivating in its own way. It’s good time to watch such a warm but goofy movie and feel good when everything is happily over. Not what I require directly from comedy, but I try to take into account that everyone has a different sense of humor, and “Like a Boss”, if not viewed from this angle, or not too bad. But only then.