There’s a sweet-natured story about sisterhood in the raunchy comedy Like a Boss, but you have to dig through a couple layers of foundation to get there, along with maybe a few fake eyelashes and some hair extensions.
Indeed, any heartwarming intentions are overwhelmed by the hit-and-miss nature of this slapdash farce about the misadventures of two BFFs who discover the ugly side of the beauty industry.
Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are childhood pals turned roommates and business partners in their own cosmetics boutique where their skills mesh — Mel’s business acumen balancing Mia’s idealistic creativity.
But with the business in financial peril, reality sets in. Mel sees a lifeline when industry titan Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) wants to invest to get her hands on the proprietary secrets behind their best-selling kit. Mia is more skeptical of selling out and relinquishing control of their shared dream.
Once their signatures are on the dotted line, Claire begins her underhanded plan to divide the business partners, take over their company, and prioritize profit above all else.
Haddish (Girls Trip) and Byrne (Bridesmaids) have each done better versions of these bawdy female-bonding comedies before. So while their ability to convey genuine chemistry with one another is appreciated, you wish such efforts served material more befitting their respective talents.
Likewise for director Miguel Arteta (Beatriz at Dinner), who’s only sporadically able to showcase the edgy satirical sensibilities that have defined his prior work.
Instead, the screenplay is content to hit all of the predictable narrative beats, managing some scattered big laughs as most of the sight gags and one-liners fall flat. There are half-hearted explorations of the challenges of entrepreneurship, cutthroat corporate tactics, enduring female friendships, delicate self-esteem issues, and the balance between internal and external beauty.
Along the way, it seems that every obstacle, no matter how big, can be worked out through a hug or a pep talk from the gals. It’s difficult to form much of an emotional attachment to the protagonists when the film consistently feels so detached from reality.
Like a Boss probably realizes that, but hopes to win you over with a barrage of broad slapstick and girl-power clichés. Rather, this movie about makeup would benefit from some contouring.