By John Mulderig
NEW YORK (CNS) — There’s a lot not to like about “Like a Boss” (Paramount). In addition to the lazy bedroom jokes that are its stock-in-trade, director Miguel Arteta’s feminist buddy comedy is tainted by a vaguely anti-family tone since it exalts friendship and professional success over marriage and child rearing and condones commitment-free hookups.
The would-be charming premise underlying Sam Pitman and Adam Cole Kelly’s script is that Mia Carter (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel Paige (Rose Byrne) have been besties since junior high and are currently both business partners and platonic housemates. The only cloud on their horizon is that the cosmetics company they co-founded is deeply in debt, a fact number-cruncher Mel has been concealing from Mia.
To the ostensible rescue comes hard-edged industry titan Claire Luna (Salma Hayek). Though she agrees to bail the pals out for a minority stake in their firm, she demands a clause in the contract stipulating that, if either of them quits, she takes control of the outfit. She thus has a vested interest in driving the duo apart and proceeds to do her best to do so.
While the moral that loyalty is more important than striking it rich is congenial enough, the fact that none of the principal characters is married is more suspect. That goes not only for Mia and Mel but for their main collaborators, hapless-in-love divorcee Sydney (Jennifer Coolidge) and stereotypically light-in-his-loafers Barrett (Billy Porter).
Of course, in the world of “Like a Boss,” the fact that you’re unwed doesn’t mean you don’t scratch when you itch. So Mia has a strictly physical bond with Harry (Jacob Latimore) while Mel is happy to welcome strangers to her bed but shoos them away in the morning.
Along with recreational sex, Mia and Mel are fond of a relaxing reefer — as they demonstrate in more than one scene. Perhaps the effect is to make the trashy jokes with which their dialogue is larded seem amusing. Viewers would be well advised to avoid both their highs and their lows.
The film contains a benign view of casual sex and marijuana use, frequent vulgar gags, a couple of mild oaths, much rough, crude and crass language, and an obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.