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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Like a Boss movie review: An unimaginative reimagining of women and their friendships

Despite the talent of Rose Byrne, Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek, each of whom hardly needs any embellishing, this film runs like watery mascara even if no one's really does through the ups and downs and ups again.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shalini Langer | New Delhi | Published: January 10, 2020 3:14:47 pm
Like a Boss movie review Like a Boss movie review: Director Miguel Arteta is certainly taking on more than he can hide under layers of pretty faces and foul language.

Like a Boss movie cast: Rose Byrne, Tiffany Haddish, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Karan Soni
Like a Boss movie director: Miguel Arteta
Like a Boss movie rating: 1.5 stars

Women and make-up. It’s tricky territory, with arguments on either side likely to feel more like an apology than anything else. How do you fit that into a film about friendship, feminism, running a successful business and picking career over children, etc etc.

Director Miguel Arteta is certainly taking on more than he can hide under layers of pretty faces and foul language here. Despite the talent of Rose Byrne, Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek, each of whom hardly needs any embellishing, this film runs like watery mascara even if no one’s really does through the ups and downs and ups again.

And all this without the whiff of a surprise. Byrne’s Mel and Haddish’s Mia have been friends since middle school, and have come far enough to develop their garage start-up into a decent store. They even have a bestseller line of make-up called one-night stand. But debts do pile up, secrets do get kept when Mel is the no-risk financial type and Mia the hot-headed artistic one. That leaves enough cracks for Hayek’s Claire to come striding in on her 7-inch heels, muddy-brown bouffant, and skin tanned ugly. She matches this with ensembles that range between shades of bright pinks, oranges and reds, with her breasts getting particular attention.

That is all okay. A woman running a cosmetics empire has darned well earned her right to dress as she wants to. If nothing, Hayek lights up the room when she walks in, as much with her “fierce (the word delivered in an accent that the film can’t have enough of)” attitude, as much as her decision to play this role to the hilt. You can’t take your eyes off Hayek, and yet the film has her there only to mock her in every possible way, with her intentions as obvious as looking glass — except to Mel and Mia. How does a person like that build a million-dollar empire and yet ride down to get into every little scrap with the two nobodies, is something far too subtle for the film to consider.

Of course, Mel is a sucker for her not-so-courteous wooing, and of course, Claire sets to widen the gaps between her and Mia. But of course, in this Barbie world — the film owns up this description too — the only red that is spilled is on lips.

What’s even worse about this unimaginative reimagining of women and their friendships is the cuss words that are meant to pass them off as being the it-girls. The jokes don’t get grosser than a cake topped with a baby head coming out of a bleeding vagina, served at a baby shower.

No, any amount of grease paint can’t put a pretty face on that one.

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