Like a Boss (M)
Mel (Rose Byrne) and Mia (Tiffany Haddish) have been friends since school, a perfect complement to each other.
While Mia is energetic and creative, Mel follows in her wake, tidying up, paying bills, giving Mia the room to be creative.
By their late 30s, the pair have parlayed their relationship into a failing cosmetics company but one of their products has drawn the attention of cosmetics magnate Claire Luna (Salma Hayek).
Luna makes the pair an offer - to buy into their company, pay off their debts and with hints of a big payday to come.
The catch, though, is that the friends retaining controlling interest in the company is dependent on their partnership remaining strong.
One of the friends walks, and Luna takes a 51 percent controlling interest.
Cue Luna and her executive assistant Josh (Karan Soni) scheming to undermine the women's friendship and have them question each other's ideas and loyalties so she can take over the whole company?
Can these women's lifelong friendship withstand this high-stakes assault?
Walking out of the cinema I was musing to myself about the unhipness of my mansplaining a film review for this women-centric chick-flick.
But it turns out this film about the value of female friendships comes from a fairly bloke-heavy production team, including the writing team of Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly, and directed by Miguel Arteta.
He directed Salma Hayek in Beatriz at Dinner, one of her best performances.
She enjoys a few moments here, despite the one-dimensionality of her villain role.
Arteta also directed at least one episode of practically every American TV show of any value over the past decade.
His ear for comedy and sense of timing work well at times.
Plenty of jokes land really well.
A handful of them felt like they'd really land in an infectious way in a crowded cinema, and I felt like I was missing out only sharing my screening with two other people.
Tiffany Haddish plays executive producer as well as starring, though for me every moment she is on screen I expect the high-octane performance of her mainstream breakout role in Girls Night.
She was so funny in that film, I think I stopped breathing for a few minutes.
Unfortunately this film never reaches those heights.
The friendship between Mia and Mel feels genuine, thanks to the chemistry between the two leads, though weak writing in the film's second half makes their estrangement feel forced and not well thought out.
The friendship between Mia and Mel feels genuine, thanks to the chemistry between the two leads, though weak writing in the film's second half makes their estrangement feel forced and not well thought out
When it comes to Rose Byrne I have just one thing to say, quoting Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion: "You look so good with blonde hair and black roots it's, like, not even funny."
Actually, I have more things to say about Byrne.
While the Hemsworths have flashily invaded Hollywood with their shirtless smouldering, Aussie Byrne has quietly built a rock-solid silver screen career in the United States.
There's nothing she can't do.
The filmmakers cast a sensible menage of experienced sidekicks in the support roles.
Style icon Billy Porter plays a worker in Mel and Mia's makeup company and he slays one big moment, which is impressive considering most of his scenes are played against Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde).
Many of her lines feel like improv.
Like a Boss comes out at that point in the school holidays when most parents are happy to send their kids to see anything at the movies to get them out of the house.
But this unqualified therapist recommends a baby-sitter for the kids and an air-conditioned cinema for mum (and/or dad).
It isn't the best film ever made, but it would pair well with a nice Pinot Grigio and four girlfriends.