Buddy comedies are usually focused on two guys learning to love each other more and value their friendship as they go on some sort of adventure that changes their lives. It’s a standard formula, one that kind of resembles a romantic comedy but centers on friendship. For female-led comedies, we often see a focus on an ensemble cast, which each of the friends going through a lot with two really standing out. Here is where Like A Boss steps in.
Like A Boss centers on best friends Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) who run their own cosmetics company. They’ve built their self-titled cosmetics company from the ground up and have done so by prioritizing it and each other. But they’re also losing money, saddled with debt, and the prospect of a buyout offer from an industry titan proves too tempting to pass up. As they come under the eccentric Claire Luna’s (Salma Hayek) wing, they realize their focus on empowering women and their staff (played by Billy Porter and Jennifer Coolidge) have to be left behind. Throughout the film, Mia and Mel are pushed, fueled by bad communication, the two’s decades-long friendship begins to break down while Claire’s telenovela villain plans begin to fall into place.
While Like A Boss is entirely formulaic, it is wildly entertaining. The ending of the film is foreshadowed so strongly that it’s predictable, especially given the film’s reliance on tropes. That being said, the humor is authentic, and the differences between Haddish as Mia and Byrne as Mel help fuel different forms of comedy throughout the film helping the film hit multiple notes. But it’s Haddish and Byrne that make the film great. More specifically, it’s the way the film focusses on their friendship, their familial bond, and honestly how it crafts them within a larger friend-group where they’re a bit of the outsider. To put it simply, Like A Boss gets female friendship right.
When the film seems to lean into mean girls territory, it pulls itself and shows that the larger friend group isn’t all judgment, but friends who want more for Mia and Mel, and are there for them when they begin to fight. There isn’t any cattiness or drama in the way female friendships are usually shown; they’re all connected and bonded, and there is nothing but support when times get hard.
But the film, as much as it shines because of Haddish and Byrne, lives because of the amazing character performances from Porter, Coolidge, and of course Hayek. Each and every one of them is amazing, hilarious, and executes their performances with such energy that it’s hard not to laugh. While Coolidge and Porter knock sense into Mia and Mel, their relationship together is another highlight. Then, you have Hayek.
If you’ve ever watched a telenovela then you know what those villains are like. Sexy, mean, and completely over-the-top. Hayek nails all of this, even the bad hair, as Claire Luna. From golf clubs to drones, she is the telenovela villain of my dreams and to see her in a comedic role that fits her so well is exciting to see. Additionally, her body is only used as a comedic effect a couple of times, a feat since the vast majority of her wardrobe in the film exists to accentuate it. Here, Hayek’s costuming allows her to put characterization first and thus removes the easiest joke in the room.
All in all, Like A Boss isn’t a revolutionary film, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a film you should go see with your girlfriends, a film that you should see with your best friend, and it knows its audience. The film exists to make women laugh about the parts of our lives we often forget to. Additionally, despite the jokes about Mel and Mia not having kids of husbands, they don’t make each of them settle down. Instead, they focus on their company, their friendship, and working through their issues.
Like A Boss is what we need more of in comedy films. It’s strong and unwilling to compromise its female lens, it earns its laughs by hitting it’s target audience hard, and the heart from each and every actor in the production is worn on their sleeves.
Like A Boss hits theaters nationwide January 10th.
Like A Boss
All in all, Like A Boss isn’t a revolutionary film, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a film you should go see with your girlfriends, a film that you should see with your best friend, and it knows its audience. The film exists to make women laugh about the parts of our lives we often forget to.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.