Salma Hayek, Tiffany Haddish and ROse Byrne in a scene from Like A Boss.
Salma Hayek, Tiffany Haddish and ROse Byrne in a scene from Like A Boss.

REVIEW: Dud proves Hollywood doesn’t know what women want

LIKE A BOSS

One star

Director: Miguel Arteta

Starring: Rose Byrne, Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek

Rating: M

Running time: 83 minutes

Verdict: A corny, calculated confection

 

First, let's have a look at this female buddy comedy's good points - it won't take long.

Like A Boss positively blitzes the Bechdel test, which requires a film to feature at least two women talking to each other about something other than a man (approximately 50 per cent of films fail).

Blokes are mere bit players in Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel's (Rose Byrne) story.

One of the two key supporting male characters is gay (Billy Porter). The other is asexual (Karan Soni).

Salma Hayek, Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne in a scene from Like A Boss.
Salma Hayek, Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne in a scene from Like A Boss.

The two self-proclaimed straight men function as little more than plot devices.

And although Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly's screenplay is set in the ideologically complex world of the beauty industry, its main characters' mantra is one of self-appreciation and self-empowerment.

Mia and Mel's small, bespoke cosmetics company, which they started from the ground up, is founded upon the principal of enhancing a women's inner beauty (therein lies the first of its creativity-crushing conundrums, but we will come back to that later).

BFFs since primary school, they're living their childhood dream. There's just one, niggling problem - money.

Mia's insistence on maintaining a healthy work-life balance (she's a party animal), combined with the generous discounts she gives to awkward customers, hasn't done a whole lot for the business's bottom line. The company is about to go under when a saviour arrives in the form of a sensationally successful, self-made businesswoman.

Rose Byrne, left, and Salma Hayek in a scene from Like a Boss. Picture: Eli Joshua Ade/Paramount Pictures
Rose Byrne, left, and Salma Hayek in a scene from Like a Boss. Picture: Eli Joshua Ade/Paramount Pictures

Claire Luna (Salma Hayek sporting an orange wig, prosthetic teeth and inflated boobs) is an immaculately-coiffured caricature with nowhere useful to go.

A wolf in feminist's clothing, she plans to drive a wedge between the two friends so she can take the controlling share of their company. And she very nearly succeeds.

Like A Boss feels like the sort of film a Hollywood suit might green-light if he had half listened to a series of focus groups asking women what they wanted from a movie (or perhaps dispensed with the consultation process altogether, assuming he already knew).

Despite valiant attempts by Haddish and Byrne to breathe a bit of life into the underwritten, overworked screenplay, nothing about this ode to female friendship feels genuine.

And the film is deeply compromised by the mixed message it is sending to young women - Mia and Mel proselytise about natural beauty while wearing face-fulls of makeup and running around in ankle breaking platform heels.

A calculated attempt to cash in on the female dollar.

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