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The Boss: Unrated Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

The Boss (2016) movie poster The Boss

Theatrical Release: April 8, 2016 / Running Time: 99 Minutes (theatrical), 104 Minutes (extended) / Rating: R (theatrical), Unrated (extended)

Director: Ben Falcone / Writers: Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory

Cast: Melissa McCarthy (Michelle Darnell), Kristen Bell (Claire Rawlings), Peter Dinklage (Renault/Ronald), Ella Anderson (Rachel Rawlings), Tyler Labine (Mike Beals), Kathy Bates (Ida Marquette), Cecily Strong (Dana Dandridge), Mary Sohn (Jan Keller), Kristen Schaal (Scout Leader Sandy), Eva Peterson (Chrystal), Tim Simons (Stephan), Aleandra Newcomb (Mariana), Annie Mumolo (Helen), Presley Coley (Hannah), Ben Falcone (Marty), Margo Martindale (Sister Aluminata), Michael McDonald (Bryce Crean), Rob Pralgo (SEC Agent Fields), Larry Dorf (Guard Kenny), Cedric Yarbrough (Tito), Gayle King (Herself), T-Pain (Himself)

Buy The Boss from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / Instant Video: Theatrical Unrated

All comedy film stardom comes with a shelf life. The best case scenario is something like fifteen to twenty years of sustained success, followed by reinvention. Think Robin Williams, Bill Murray, and, most recently, Adam Sandler,
if he can figure out the reinvention bit. Many were prepared to mark Tammy as the swift end of Melissa McCarthy's unprecedented grip on leading lady status. But that summer 2014 movie endured lousy reviews and went on to display unusual legs for a comedy and the following summer's smash hit Spy made the career obituaries look ludicrously premature. McCarthy's detractors may be louder than her supporters these days, but their words mean less to her career than ticket sales, which remain quite healthy.

McCarthy reteams with her Tammy director/co-writer and real-life husband Ben Falcone on The Boss, another R-rated comedy sinking or swimming based on the plus-sized actress. Like Tammy, this one largely struck out with critics but fared a bit better with the moviegoing public. Grossing $63 million domestic and $79 M worldwide on a $29 M budget, The Boss was far from a resounding hit, but it did earn more than the average comedy and did so without a male lead.

"The Boss" stars Melissa McCarthy as Michelle Darnell, a wealthy and popular motivational speaker and author.

McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, who grew up being adopted by foster families and returned every few years. This potentially traumatic upbringing did not prevent Michelle from making something of herself. The 47th wealthiest woman in America, the hardworking, no-nonsense Darnell is an extremely popular motivational speaker and author of bestselling books. She gets busted for insider trading, but the white collar crime nets her just four months in a country club prison. Still, she comes out to find most of her assets reclaimed and has to climb her way back up to the top.

To help her do that, she turns to Claire Rawlings (Kristen Bell), her thankless assistant, a single mother to Rachel (Ella Anderson) whose apartment Michelle moves into. While helping to watch the girl, Michelle cooks up a promising new business opportunity: an empire of Brownie Scouts whose for-profit model hinges on Claire's delicious family brownie recipe. Michelle's new organization, called Darnell's Darlings, clashes with existing girl scout groups.

Meanwhile, Michelle's longtime nemesis, the samurai-fashioned tycoon Renault (Peter Dinklage), keeps his sights set on how to topple Michelle's new venture.

By the time "The Boss" delivers a climax involving Michelle (Melissa McCarthy), Claire (Kristen Bell), and Mike (Tyler Labine) breaking into Renault's business, the film has already lost its way.

Like Tammy, The Boss makes full use of McCarthy's onscreen prowess but leaves some to be desired in the writing department. This time out, Falcone and McCarthy share screenplay credit with complete novice Steve Mallory. The three of them seem more interested in letting this foul-mouthed character run wild than in telling a story that holds your interest and consistently entertains.
McCarthy is a sharp enough performer for us not to mind the writing not being stronger. But eventually, we do mind when it comes time for the movie to generate and resolve conflict with a plot to renege on Michelle's short-sighted sale to the competition.

McCarthy and Bell share some nice comic chemistry, managing to amuse with gags like bra puppetry and mutual breast assessment that would be iffy at best on the page. But the notions of pre-teen girls cursing and engaging in slow motion street fights are never as funny as the movie thinks. The results are quite uneven, varying between moderately diverting and pretty uninspired. The Boss never settles into bad movie territory, but it never wins us over as it should or generates the laughs that McCarthy's better films have.

On Blu-ray and DVD, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment treats The Boss to an unrated cut that adds to the film's already unabashed R-rated language. It runs 5 minutes and 26 seconds longer than the theatrical edit. Among the differences: the unrated cut adds Bell's husband Dax Shephard playing the son of Ida Marquette (Kathy Bates), whose dinner party Michelle crashes.

The Boss: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.85:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), 5.1 DTS (Spanish, French); theatrical cut only: Dolby Surround 2.0 (Descriptive Video Service)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish); theatrical cut only: Dolby Surround 2.0 (Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish, French
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $34.98
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($29.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video: Theatrical, Unrated

VIDEO and AUDIO

Although The Boss isn't a movie you watch for sensory stimulation, like any new studio film it looks quite presentable on Blu-ray. The 1.85:1 picture stays sharp, clean and vibrant throughout, while the 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix is unusually lively, beginning with Michelle and T-Pain's fiery United Center presentation. Both discs use branching to fit the two cuts of the film without pushing the limits of the format's capacity.

Boy scouts led by Dave Bautista run into Darnell's Darlings in the alternate ending. Kristen Bell struggles to keep it together in The Boss' gag reel.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's all-HD extras begin with the alternate ending "Falcon Rangers" (2:00), in which another street brawl ensues, this time against a boy scout group led by Dave Bautista.

Ten deleted scenes (14:10) follow. They include a bit at a White Sox game, Claire's follow-up job interview, and Tito (Cedric Yarbrough) working at Best Buy. Strangely, these bleep out the curses.

An Extended/Alternate Scenes section (16:15) consists of six items, a number of them springing from the big climax sequence.

A gag reel (3:54) is quite similar and possibly identical to the outtakes played in the closing credits.

Two featurettes show us where Melissa McCarthy introduced the character of Michelle Darnell -- on and mostly off-stage at Groundlings. Peter Dinklage discusses Renault, the samurai-fashioned villain he plays in the film.

"Michelle Darnell - Original Sketch" (7:25) takes us back to Groundlings

in the early 2000s, where Melissa McCarthy introduced the high turtlenecked character on or technically off-stage with improvised audience interactions.

"Origin Story" (7:11) elaborates on the Groundlings debut with clips and comments.

"Peter Dinklage Gets to the Point" (8:14) celebrates the diminutive actor, while "Everybody Loves Kristen Bell" (6:50) applies the same treatment to the film's second lead.

The DVD here, the same one sold on its own, includes both edits of the film, but only the alternate ending, deleted scenes, extended/alternate scenes, and gag reel in the way of bonus features.

The discs open with trailers for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Hardcore Henry, Kindergarten Cop 2, Honey 3, and Kubo and the Two Strings. These aren't available by menu and The Boss' trailer isn't included at all.

Each disc's menu attaches score to a static shot adapted from poster art.

The plain discs share a standard, slipcovered keepcase with an insert supplying not only your Digital HD code but a code to get another Universal movie free when you sign up to get e-mails from Universal.

A for-profit girl scouts organization is just the big idea that Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) needs to bounce back in "The Boss."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone use her success to give us another larger than life character at the center of another foul-mouthed comedy. Though there are some definite laughs, the results are quite uneven and pretty mediocre on the whole. With two cuts of the film and plenty of bonus features, Universal's combo pack is easy to recommend to those who really liked the movie, but it's best suited as a rental for those who haven't seen it.

Buy The Boss from Amazon.com: Blu-ray Combo / DVD / Instant Video: Theatrical Unrated

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Reviewed July 25, 2016.



Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 Universal Pictures, On the Day, Gary Sanchez Productions and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
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