(L-R): Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek in ‘Like a Boss.’ Credit: Eli Joshua Ade/Paramount Pictures

Title: ‘Like a Boss’

Director: Miguel Arteta (‘Cedar Rapids,’ ‘Youth in Revolt’)

Starring: Rose Byrne, Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek

Finding someone they truly bond with to create a project they both are truly passionate about is not always an easy task for many people. But Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish prove that when people find someone who they truly connect with, and understands their personal and professional goals, they have to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work. The actresses’ dedication to collaborating on a female-driven comedy that’s propelled by not only their natural on-screen presence together, but also their characters’ friendship and working relationship, is alluring presented in their new film, ‘Like a Boss.’ Directed by Miguel Arteta, the comedy, which empowers women to pursue their goals, is set to be released in theaters nationwide tomorrow by Paramount Pictures.

‘Like a Boss’ follows long-time best friends and business owners, Mel and Mia (Byrne and Haddish), who run their own cosmetics line and boutique together in Atlanta. While the duo is passionate about their enterprise, the company is struggling to maintain its profits amongst the competitive nature of the Georgia beauty scene. But their business is seemingly saved when a prominent cosmetics titan, Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), decides to invest in their self-named company. Claire declares that she’ll pay off their nearly $500,000 debt, a fact Mel has kept hidden from Mia, until now.

While Mel views Claire as their savior, the creative-driven Mia is more wary of the titan’s motives and plans for the Mel and Mia brand. While Mel aspires to be like Claire, in both business and life, Mia is determined to rely on their employees and fellow friends, Barrett (Billy Porter) and Sydney (Jennifer Coolidge), to prove that their over two decades-long friendship is more important than any business arrangement.

The story in ‘Like a Boss’ is an equally comedic and encouraging tale of two women who have been best friends since adolescence. The duo has overcome difficult situations together, including the death of Mia’s mother, which was a painful experience for both of them, and Mel’s estrangement from her mother, who she mentioned has long struggled with drug addiction. Screenwriters Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly successfully achieved their goal of creating two driven women who have relied on their strong bond of friendship to help them launch their business together, which inspires female viewers to be confident in themselves.

While the film’s plot thrives on the ever-evolving relationships and distinct motives of the comedy genre’s much-needed three female leads, Pitman and Cole-Kelly’s script at times unfortunately feeds into the troupes that are commonplace for buddy comedies. Claire is almost immediately shown to be a conniving businesswoman, who’s only motivated by her own ambitions, and solely wants to take total control of Mel and Mia’s company for her own profit.

The antagonist causes the two best friends and business partners to temporarily fight over the best course of action for their brand. That tension is amplified by the fact that Mel’s the emotionally guarded and chronic people pleaser who leads the financial side of the small cosmetics company, while Mia’s the impulsive partner who can often craft ideas on a whim.

Despite the at-times predictability of the plot-line of ‘Like a Boss,’ Byrne and Haddish are the perfect match on screen. While the Australian-born Byrne first began to garner attention in America for her Emmy Award-nominated role in the FX thriller-drama series, ‘Damages,’ as well as the horror sequel ’28 Weeks Later’ and the first two ‘Insidious‘ movies, she continued to prove her versatility as an actress in the new comedy. Much like her role of Helen in the award-winning ‘Bridesmaids,’ Byrne’s natural humor as Mel effortlessly shined through on screen against the comedic talents of her co-stars, particularly Haddish, Porter and Coolidge.

Not only does Byrne shine on screen in ‘Like a Boss,’ so does Haddish in her signature comedic way. When Paramount Pictures bought Pitman and Cole-Kelly’s screenplay in fall 2017, several months after Haddish’s award-winning breakout role in ‘Girls Trip,’ the studio specifically had her in mind for a starring lead role. The casting decision was a good for the distributor, as Mia is reminiscent of the actress’ role of Dina in the ensemble cast of ‘Girls Trip.’ The actress once again proves her confidence in portraying a strong, resilient and intelligent woman who isn’t afraid to defend what she believes in while she pursues her dreams.

‘Like a Boss’ is a clever, fierce women-centric film that proves how important it is for Hollywood to create strong, courageous female lead characters in the often male-dominated comedy field. Taking cues from such fearless, successful entries in the genre as ‘Girls Trip’ and ‘Bridesmaids,’ Arteta effortlessly brought Pitman and Cole-Kelly’s humorous, endearing female buddy script to the screen. With the smartly cast lead roles of Byrne, Haddish and Hayek, the women in the audience will surely feel like they’re the ones in charge in the comedy genre.

Technical: B

Acting: B+

Story: B

Overall: B

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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