Esther McCarthy reviews The Boss and Miracles from Heaven
Resident movie critic on the Moncrieff Show, Esther McCarthy, offers her thoughts on this week's big releases...
The Boss (15A) **
Actor/director Ben Falcone (Melissa McCarthy’s husband) struggles to harness a paper-thin story that feels developed merely as a star vehicle for its female lead.
McCarthy is Michelle Darnell, a styled-to-the-nines titan of industry who has made a fortune buying business and sometimes screwing people over in the process.
It’s earned her a high profile as one of the wealthiest women in the US (she makes a nice sideline from inspirational speaking) and a fair amount of enemies, including powerful business rival Renault (Peter Dinklage) with who she once had a torrid romance.
She’s also a tough boss, not least to her long-suffering assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) who’s considering leaving to make a better life for herself and her daughter.
So when Darnell is caught and given a prison term for insider trading, she quickly finds herself alone and with her assets blocked. She emerges determined to start over and rebrand herself as a kind-hearted businesswoman - but not everyone’s so quick to help her on her way.
The cast do their best but the material’s simply not there. Bell fares best as the heart of the film - and its only truly fleshed character - while Dinklage is a mess as the cartoonish villain of the piece.
Miracles from Heaven (PG) **
Jennifer Garner is Christy Beam, wife to Kevin (Martin Henderson) and mother to three young girls. When they’re not working to develop the family’s pet farm business, they can often be found at church.
But when her daughter Anna (a very good Kylie Rogers) is diagnosed with a serious, life-threatening stomach condition, the anxious Christy’s Christian faith, in both her religion and humanity, is badly shaken.
As she struggles to find the right medical practitioners to help her daughter, who is declining every day, she decides to travel to Boston to fight for the only chance of effective treatment at a specialist hospital. Along the way, she encounters friendship in unlikely places, including from a waitress (Queen Latifah) who offers her support.
There are some strong performances and tough, true scenes but the film never manages to shake off its ‘weepie of the week’ feel to it (check out that awful title and the manipulative score). And that’s before its outlandish finale.
The film’s Christianity is not its core problem, but the fact that it shoehorns this Christianity into every plot element makes for a clunky movie.