Yes, this is amusing… it is also formulaic and, far too many times, over-the-top. A little restraint in the script and direction by Falcone and his co-writers could have made this a classic. Instead, what you get is a couple hours of distraction that you probably never need to visit again.
Melissa McCarthy (The Heat) continues her reign and the crude queen of comic film. She always brings heart to the characters, and this is no exception. The opening of the film gave me great hope as they set up the woman she was to become. But, of course, after pointing down some difficult paths, she ended up on the easy and predictable one far too often. Her amalgam of Martha Stewart, Tony Robbins, and Donald Trump as a financial guru is a riot. Her timing is stellar.
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) and Ella Anderson (Giant Mechanical Man) serve as the only real connection to the world for McCarthy and the audience. Certainly it is an over-simplified relationship, but they are there for their emotional center, not factual practicality. For instance, while the relationship that inevitably develops with Tyler Labine (Voltron) is sweet, it is not exactly credible. And we won’t even discuss NYC rents.
In smaller but critical roles Kathy Bates (American Horror Story) and Peter Dinklage (Pixels) create paper tigers of the business world. Bates has more substance of the pair, but Dinklage is more central to the plot. Neither really gets to use their considerable talents to any real amount, thanks to the script and direction.
As Falcone’s second time in the director’s seat, it is a pretty good showing, but he needs to learn how to edit his creations and to allow some of the improv and absurd comedy to die. He and McCarthy are far too attached to some of the fantasy comedy (the utterly impossible or ridiculous) when they had plenty of real and funny stuff going on. The fantasy junk just detracted. And, for those that see this, I didn’t consider most of the rumble scene fantasy, that worked.
So, yes, if you’ve a couple hours to blow and want distraction, this will do. You’ll laugh and cringe, as you probably expect to do. And, perhaps down the road, Falcone and McCarthy will realize where the line is between comedy that lasts and comedy that is ephemeral. There is real talent there, just no self control and self awareness when it comes to editing.