Mel (Rose Byrne) and Mia (Tiffany Haddish) have been best friends from middle school. That friendship will be tested when cosmetics mogul Claire Luna (Selma Hayak) wants to buy into their small beauty company. The beauty business gets very ugly when lifelong friend’s different ideals get in the way of their personal and professional lives.
Silly and ridiculous, “Like a Boss” turns the tables on the bromance buddy movie by celebrating strong women in a broad-strokes way, counting on the star power of Tiffany Haddish as a brash in-your-face entrepreneur.
Since she burst on the scene in “Girls Trip” in 2017, Haddish has carved a niche as a loud no-filter character with one speed, always cranked up to 11. No different here as Mia. Sassy and unapologetic, she’s the wingman to Rose Byrne’s timid but practical Mel.
Byrne, who earned her comedy chops in “Neighbors,” holds her own against Haddish, who steamrollers every scene.The story emphasizes they bonded as young girls and although their small-batch cosmetics brand seems too-good-to-be-true, it is straight out of female fantasy romantic novel fiction.
The dialogue, by male screenwriters Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly, is cringe-worthy, based on a story by Danielle Sanchez. It’s painful when spoken by Jennifer Coolidge as a ditzy older worker but often hilarious when interpreted by the ever-flamboyant Billy Porter, who practically steals the show as Barrett, the master cosmetics mixologist.
Selma Hayak, in an atrocious red wig, chews scenery as the villain, a manipulative bitch-on-wheels without an ounce of nuance.
From the true-life battles of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, we know the beauty business can be ugly, but this is really over-the-top with a laugh-track sitcom scenario.
This is the kind of paycheck movie the trio signed up for, and although everyone tries real hard, it’s just a throwaway piece of entertainment aimed at a girls’ night out for female friends looking for a few hours’ respite of a cold winter and a cruel world.
Nothing wrong with that – you know exactly what you are getting when you purchase a ticket.
That said, the screening audience seemed to have a real good time chuckling at all the misadventures of the two besties and the evil annoyances they are faced with in this 83-minute comedy.
Good female empowerment films are important, as they are like needles in a haystack, so I suppose even fluffy ones are better than nothing.