Monotonously unfunny, 'The Boss' is a comedy that just doesn't work

Philip Molloy also casts his critical eye over Michael Moore's new documentary 'Where to Invade Next'

Philip Molloy, Michael Moore, Where to Invade Next, Melissa McCarthy, The Boss

Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell star in 'The Boss' [Universal Studios]

Where to Invade Next? (15A)

Where To Invade Next, Michael Moore’s first full-length documentary in six years, feels like a companion piece to his trenchant health-care exposé Sicko in 2007. That, you may recall, was presented in the form of a travelogue in which the portly polemicist visited a string of European countries and pinpointed ways in which their citizens get better health care than Americans.

In this one, Moore expands on that idea-playing a one-man invasion force jetting around the continent to steal the best ideas from countries that routinely outrank the US in quality of life metrics.

He goes to Italy and cites the country’s officially mandated paid annual vacation time; he identifies gourmet school lunches and frank sex education in France, free university tuition in Slovenia, the decriminalisation of drug use in Portugal and prisons with rehab programmes in Norway. Then he forges onward, dropping by one relatively well-off, well-adjusted nation after another, meaning to debunk the myth that generous, humane public services break the bank and raise the crime rate.

It is liberal propaganda, sometimes presented in a purposely inventive and comic way, but it makes its case with ingenuity and vigour and because he is openly cherry-picking what he considers to be the best ideas in these countries , he doesn’t feel the need to talk about what might be wrong in Germany, France etc. His point is that the US is capable of making positive use of at least some of these ideas and all that is really needed is a tilting of the political will.

Like many of his projects, Where to Invade Next is a shade overlong but generally speaking, it is one of the best things Moore has done in years. 

The Boss (15A)

The Boss is further proof that Saturday Night Live-type comedy doesn’t always play on this side of the Atlantic.  In this one Melissa McCarthy is cast as a titan of industry who is sent to prison for insider trading and is determined to change her ways when she comes out – but she soon realises that not everyone is willing to forgive and forget.

The Boss, which was written and directed by McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone, is a loosely-strung series of sketches that have very little generic quality either as comedy or anything else. Like much of what we get from Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions it is thin and superficial and monotonously unfunny. 

Every Wednesday, The Picture Show's Philip Molloy features on The Right Hook. Listen back to the segment in the podcast below:

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