Fast friends Mia (Haddish) and Mel (Byrne) are self-described “badass queens, like those b*tches who raised Wonder Woman.” The cosmetics company they started allows them to “run their best life” but the bills are piling up. “We’re four hundred and ninety-three thousand dollars in debt,” says Mel. Helping them out of the financial hole is Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), a mogul with bottomless pockets. She offers them over a million bucks but it comes with strings. “Per your contract,” Claire’s assistant tells them, “you now have to give Claire $.49 of every dollar for the rest of your lives.” Claire’s involvement brings more than just cash, however. “In my experience,” Claire says, “business and friendship don’t always mix,” and soon a rift develops between the levelheaded Mel and reckless Mia.
The experience of watching “Like a Boss” in theatres is not unlike watching a movie at home. In the comfort of your castle you might get up to make a sandwich, get a drink or go to the bathroom and miss some of the connective scenes that help the movie make sense. Like a Boss” replicates that experience by taking out many of the scenes necessary for the story of female empowerment to work properly. No need to leave your theatre seat. The movie feels rushed, as if those scenes of exposition were ripped from the script on long shift days in order to accommodate the film’s slight 83 minute running time.
It’s a shame because the charming cast is trying hard to wring laughs out of the thin, predictable story. There are a handful of good giggles—Billy Porter’s “witness my tragic moment” scene among them—that hint at what this movie could have been—a mix between “Bridesmaids” and “The Devil Wears Prada”—but it runs out of steam fast, well before the inevitable impromptu musical dance number at the end.
“Like a Boss” wants to be a glass of chardonnay, you go girl kind of feel good comedy but it doesn’t feel as good as it could because of its scattershot approach to the storytelling. With no emotional connection to the characters, the jokes fall flat despite a talented cast.