Thursday, April 21, 2016

Melissa McCarthy's Weltanschauung

“You dress like you’re grocery shopping at a CVS,” Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) remarks to her assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), a single mother who is about to go out on a date in The Boss. On a the Richter scale of laughs it’s about a #3, but it also is a peculiar little line since it has the appearance of an in- joke. The viewer knows what she’s talking since ostensibly he or she has, in fact, stooped to buying groceries at the CVS, Walgreen’s or even the dreaded Duane Reade. There are a couple of tony words worthy of comment in the movie. "Hangry" is a mutt created by angry and hungry and “vajunification” is an apparent neologism, but also brings to mind reunification which is what happened when the Berlin Wall came down. In poli sci when countries that have formerly been balkanized are brought back together, it’s called “irredentism.” But McCarthy who's given a script credit doesn’t go that far. The Boss lowers the bar for what is considered comic, not in terms of vulgarity. No one can beat the Farelly Brothers when it comes to that, but in terms of insipidness. But what’s interesting about the movie like her earlier  Identity Thief is the creation of the comic persona, which, one has a hunch, is a kind of cri de coeur. Both characters are suffering from a bad case of sour grapes (in the wake of being orphaned as children), having turned their disaffection from humanity into a profession. If the CVS quip makes you feel at home, you probably have also met Melissa McCarthy or the characters she plays before, the kind of person who failing to be good or attractive or both becomes good at being horribly bad, even repulsive in every way. Bridesmaids is probably one of the great comedies of all time. But watch out what you want for you might get it. McCarthy’s earlier success has obviously given her carte blanche to create a brand, and the brand is that of the fat girl who shows or tells all and makes you vomit. Waxing is so ubiquitous that it now appears like vapor emitted by serial killers in the London axe murder movies and sure enough there was the obligatory scene of McCarthy with her legs spread removing unwanted pubic hair while spraying herself with a self tanner. "It’s all good" says M.C. Hammer. We might not be able to say the reverse about The Boss, which bears an odd kinship with The Apprentice, but almost.

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