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Review | Generic 'Like a Boss' is devoid of laughs, wasting plenty of talent

Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne are talented women with true comedy chops, but they have nothing to do in Miguel Arteta's comedy.
Credit: Paramount Pictures
Salma Hayek as Claire Luna, Tiffany Haddish as Mia and Rose Byrne as Mel in Like a Boss from Paramount Pictures.

ST. LOUIS — Midway through "Like a Boss," the new film from Miguel Arteta, best friends/business partners Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne), avoid judgement from their friends for letting an infant inhale marijuana by jumping off the roof into a pool below.

This, like many moments in this forced comedy, simply aren't funny. Everything else comes off as generic and factory-made, a movie that should escape from your mind the minute you check your phone after the credits begin. A harmless fluff piece written by two men who hang out at 3 a.m. bars too often, missing any form of nuance.

Haddish is a live wire in the comedy section of film, but even she can't save this empty space of a movie. She makes all the usual Haddish sounds, quips, and employs her physical humor-but it does nothing. Byrne, who was wickedly funny in "Spy" and "Bridesmaids," has literally nothing to do here yet look perplexed. She may be wondering why her agent put her in this film.

Arteta knows how to put together a funny film with some heart, as seen in "Youth Revolt" and "Beatriz at Dinner," but this is a total misfire. What was fun and fresh in those movies is missing in action here or was left on the cutting room floor. Salma Hayek, who thrived in "Beatriz," applies Sofia Vergara verbal tactics and Angelina Jolie lip enhancers to enliven a thinly-written role. Here's a clue: it doesn't work at all. Hayek is wasted here, as are the majority of the cast.

The only one who manages to make a dent is Billy Porter, a loyal participant in Mel and Mia's company. But he doesn't get enough time to turn the movie around.

The criminal in this trial is the script. Why get two guys to write a female-driven comedy? I'm not saying it can't be done, but these two inspire that notion quite a bit. It's frat boy humor, chock full of sexual overtone that are dead on arrival. The only worse would be having T.J. Miller recite all of this dialogue as a love interest or something. Here, the comedy comes off like a bad sitcom that was left out to die come pilot season.

In reality, "Like a Boss" lands in theaters this weekend, but I'd stay away. Watch "Girls Night" with Haddish and anything else with Byrne, who is capable of elevating even the raunchiest comedy (see "Neighbors").

With all the Oscar fare still hanging around theaters, check out one of those elite instead of wasting $10-12 on this one. Unless you want to sit there blank-faced, wondering what happened to the time. "Like a Boss" is generic rendering of a wannabe-comedy with no true purpose, other than two guys doing their best to stay off the #MeToo list.

The best thing about it is the running time: a brisk 83 minutes.