Beauty may only be skin deep but the laughs in cosmetics comedy Like A Boss (2020) are pretty thin on the ground too.
This film, like the vast majority of the products offered by the multi-billion dollar industry it attempts to lampoon, is probably not meant for me. Set in the vicious, ego-driven and cut-throat world of prestige beauty, it’s less concerned with the ugly side of the beauty industry and more concerned with character schtick and slapstick nonsense as it struggles to justify its brief run time.
Lifelong friends Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) run their own cosmetics store but despite some early success, their brand has stagnated and the business is teetering on the brink. Enter the multinational beauty conglomerate Claire Luna (an amusingly plasticised Salma Hayek) who offer the pair a financial lifeline – but the price may be their friendship.
If you’re looking for a sharp comedy about female rivalry in the workplace, go rent “Working Girl” which treads much the same ground as this but with more wit and wisdom because “Like A Boss” is a relentless restless film that can’t help but get distracted into prolonged ‘bits’ as the undoubtedly talented cast try to inject some energy into proceedings.
It’s been a long time since a cast this good were assembled for material this thin, and no amount of concealer can hide the screenplay’s blushes. Byrne and Haddish have likeable chemistry but apart from each other, have nothing much to spark off. Salma Hayek’s constrained by her botoxifcation to a one-note performance while Billy Porter and Karan Soni are wasted in underserved supporting roles. Jennifer Coolidge is, well, Jennifer Coolidge and god bless her for that.
This may play better once it hits DVD and can be added to the Girls’ Night In shuffle with a bottle or two of prosecco and some overpriced facemasks – pardon me, facial masques – but there’s no escaping the fact when it comes to movie comedies, this is five dollar’s worth of face cream in a $1,000 jar.