Release date: April 8, 2016
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Ben Falcone
MPAA Rating: R (for sexual content, language and brief drug use)
Screenwriters: Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Kathy Bates
After countless rejection as an orphan, Michelle Darnell, molds herself into a financial mogul with the telling mantra “The Power of One”. Convinced that any semblance of family only weakens a person, Darnell surrounds herself with “Yes men”. That is, until Darnell is imprisoned for insider trading- ala Martha Stewart. Upon her release from prison and without the funds to recruit “yes men”, Darnell imposes herself upon her ex-assistant, Claire– a single mom, played by Kristen Bell, and her daughter Rachel. In the cramped apartment, the roles are reversed, as Claire- no longer on Darnell’s pay roll, does her best to pair goodwill with tough love. Before long, Michelle Darnell, discovers her golden ticket back to the top while also bonding with her new roommates and developing into “a weird family”. Unable to cope with this new found sense of family, Darnell burns all bridges – personal & business alike within 24 hours. Recognizing her mistake, we see Darnell’s growth when she returns to her weird family asking for forgiveness.
With a string of comedies centered on actress Melissa McCarthy, one might wonder when the joke will run out. Is the Melissa McCarthy feature film comedy more of a one hit wonder with subsequent comedies degrading in quality over time? Or is McCarthy truly the comedic juggernaut that can sustain four McCarthy centric comedies, The Heat, Spy, Tammy, and Identity Thief, in three short years?! Based on The Boss, I’d say McCarthy is here to stay and her place as one of Hollywood’s elite it well earned.
Is The Boss ridiculous, mouthy, borderline offensive, and spattered with the typical bouts of physical comedy? Sure. But The Boss never rests on being any single one. Instead, they all swirl together into an extremely well paced film that keeps you laughing and entertained. The Boss’ success comes down to the cast, magnificently led by McCarthy, and to editor Craig Alpert who cleverly keeps sentimentality at bay and the pace- full speed ahead. Also, noteworthy were the stylings of Wendy Chuck and the makeup department, who created a very new look for McCarthy. Though it may take long time McCarthy fans a moment to warm up to the new look, Chuck brilliantly informs the audience as to whom Michelle Darnell is with her style alone. McCarthy as Michelle Darnell is a catchy mesh of controversial icons running the gamut from Martha Stewart and Paula Dean to Nancy Grace.
Typically not one for humor that capitalizes on cheap, offensive, shock-instigated laughs, I was pleasantly impressed with how The Boss doled out potentially offensive joke after joke with cheeky class. And that’s the blessing of the anti-hero led film. Darnell can get away with branding “Darnell’s Darlings”- her attempt to capitalize on the Girl Scout Cookie Sale model- with a look rivaling that of such militaristic icons as the Japanese Rising Sun Flag with some Nazi-esque overtones. And these little darlings don’t only look menacing, Darnell sees to it that behave in kind – intimidating and manipulating their prey, the customer. Under the not so mindful supervision of Darnell an all out brawl erupts in the streets between competing adolescent sweet treat sales teams. The ridiculous sequence utilizes all the quintessential fight scene stunts, slow motion capture, and ninja moves but with adolescent girls as the combatants. Don’t be misled by the copious children cast in The Boss. Much of the humor comes from seemingly innocuous adolescent settings, being overrun by foulmouthed disturbingly jaded adults.
The arc of a comedy like, The Boss can be reasonably surmised by its trailer. So there aren’t any big twists, turns, or surprises in the personal arc from lonely anti-hero to loveable anti-hero who learns to embrace the idea of family. But the combination of physical humor combined with the unrelenting, grounded, invested, wit of McCarthy and friends makes the predictable journey a laugh out loud, knee slapping good time. Leave the kids with the sitter and buy your tickets. A comedy like The Boss is best enjoyed in theatres, where the roller coaster of laughs is a shared in a community experience.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm