Despite its mercifully brief running time, Like A Boss still manages to outstay its welcome – a distinctly average film which will leave you wondering why you watched it… and wondering why it was made. For the most part it’s about women behaving appallingly to each other before, for its final ten minutes, it decides it’s actually about female empowerment – a switch which is difficult to fathom and is no more convincing than the rest of it.
The gist is that Mia and Mel (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are BFFs and have been forever. A seemingly natural attraction of opposites, they’ve created their own little make-up business, with Mia providing the creative input and Mel the financial nous.
The trouble is that it isn’t doing terribly well – which is when the formidable Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), a giant of the cosmetics industry, starts to take an unhealthy interest. She’s got the ferociousness to make the business work, but realises her only way to gain total control is to split up the besties. And bizarrely, it’s fairly easily done as she plays them off against each other, exposing their weaknesses and manipulating them ruthlessly. She’s a pretty evil character, but it seems to say a lot about Mia and Mel’s friendship that they really aren’t capable of mustering much fight, Mia rebellious to a degree, but Mel doing a submissive goodie-two-shoes act that’s hard to take.
Eventually the only interest is whether the worms will turn. Except, of course, you know they will. It would be far too dismal and depressing a film if they didn’t. But sadly, it’s not exactly saved by the fact that they do. Partly, possibly, the problem is the setting. For plenty of us, a film set in the world of cosmetics is always going to be deeply dull, however much Mia and Mel try to spout about releasing our inner beauty through make-up rather than using it to mask our flaws. They have a stab at being high-minded about the whole thing, but it really doesn’t redeem any of it. The lasting impression the film leaves is of their bitchiness towards each other, how easily it is unleashed and just what an implausible, hideous character Hayek gets lumbered with.
A few laughs would have gone a long way, but it’s not funny either.