Melissa McCarthy had a successful television career with her sitcom Mike & Molly, not to mention her earlier role on the beloved Gilmore Girls. Her movie career has been a bit more spotty. She burst onto the screen in Bridesmaids but has had a bit of a rollercoaster ride with her films since then, from the lows of Identity Thief to the highs of Spy … and then there was this summer’s disappointing Ghostbusters that only seemed to fail because a majority of people just could not handle the fact that four women were playing different characters in a reboot of a film they so dearly love. In fact, McCarthy’s best movies have all been with the same director, Paul Feig. Some of her worst have been written and directed by her and her husband Ben Falcone (although none of them can take the blame for Identity Thief).
Which brings us to The Boss, arguably the best of the collaborations between the spouses (some say Tammy is better, but I am firmly not in that camp). We previously reviewed The Boss upon its theatrical release, so I won’t rehash too much of that information here. If you don’t know the plot, McCarthy plays high-powered businesswoman Michelle Darnell, a cross between Trump, Tony Robbins and Joel Osteen … except she actually gets in deep with the law for her shady business dealings. After her release from prison and not even a penny to her name, she moves in with her former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) and her daughter, discovers Claire’s exceptional baking skills, and convinces her to launch a new business … that Michelle promptly sets about screwing up, nearly losing it all — again — to her ex-lover/ex-business partner Renault (aka Ronald, played by Peter Dinklage).
The movie really does have a lot of laughs, some physical sight gags and some heart. Sometimes they don’t all mesh together well, particularly in the obligatory third “everything falls apart but you know it will work out in the end” act. It’s not a home run, but I found it entertaining. McCarthy knows this character inside and out, and Bell is the perfect “straight man” to play off against her. Dinklage’s character was a little off for me but I can’t quite put my finger on why. I’ve never really seen him as a comedic actor, so it just didn’t work for me.
If you missed The Boss in theaters, now is your chance to check the movie out on home video. Universal Studios Home Entertainment has recently released the film on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD in both rated and unrated editions. The unrated version contains about six minutes of new footage, including a cameo appearance by Bell’s husband Dax Shepard as Kathy Bates’ son, but nothing major that affects the main plot. On Bluray, the film’s 1080p video image is beautiful, sharp, colorful and rich in detail. The disk’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track doesn’t give the surrounds much to work with outside of the film’s musical score and some ambient sound effects, but the dialog is clear, front and center, giving the viewer nothing to complain about.
The selling point of the Blu-ray, aside from the general video/audio quality, is the plethora of extras. For a movie that didn’t perform as well as expected, Universal has really loaded the disk with some nice bonus material. First and foremost is the alternate ending featuring Dave Bautista as Ranger Chad as he and his Falcon Rangers attempt to go head-to-head with Darnell’s Darlings. It’s actually a better ending than the one in the film. Also included:
- Deleted Scenes (14:10) – This collection of scenes don’t really take away from not being included in the movie, but the first clip featuring Michelle and her entourage arriving at the arena at the beginning of the movie is entertaining and gives more insight into her character. There is also a scene with Michelle coaching a baseball team, Claire being interviewed for her new job (giving Cecily Strong a bit more to do), Michelle trying to get back into her old building, trying to get bodyguard Tito back on her team, and Claire learning how much Renault was willing to pay for the company. For some reason, they have bleeped out all of the expletives.
- Extended/Alternate Scenes (16:15) – The highlights include an alternate take of the killer sofa bed scene, a longer take of the sushi dinner scene including a bizarre dream sequence, a longer version of Michelle returning Claire’s apartment key, a longer exchange between Mike and the security guard, and a longer version of the break-in at Renault’s office.
- Gag Reel (3:54) – The usual collection of line flubs and pratfalls, including some hilarious moments with McCarthy and Bell trying to get through the Doritos line.
- Michelle Darnell: Original Sketch (7:25) – McCarthy’s original performance at The Groundlings, including some ad libbing with a particularly difficult audience member, that shows how fully developed this character was before being committed to film.
- Origin Story (7:16) – Melissa and Ben Falcone reflect on their Groundlings past and how the outline for the film came about eight years ago, with comments from their Groundlins cohorts who are also in the film.
- Peter Dinklage Gets To the Point (8:41) – A look at what went into the creation of Dinklage’s character Renault.
- Everybody Loves Kristen Bell (6:50) – Of course they do, and this featurette shows us why.
That’s a lot of good material for a film that didn’t get much notice at the box office, so if you’re curious about the movie that may be even more of a selling point. Comedy is subjective and The Boss may or may not be too your liking, but it has a terrific cast, so good laughs and the home version has enough extras to make it worth your while.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment generously provided Hotchka with a Blu-ray Blu-ray edition of the film for reviewing purposes.