Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair, Karan Soni
Runtime: 1 hr 23 mins
Rating: NC16 (Coarse language and Sexual References)
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 13 February 2020
Synopsis: Best friends Mia and Mel (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are living their best lives running their own cosmetics company they’ve built from the ground up. Unfortunately, they’re in over their heads financially, and the prospect of a big buyout offer from a notorious titan of the cosmetics industry Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) proves too tempting to pass up, putting Mel and Mia’s lifelong friendship in jeopardy. The beauty business is about to get ugly.
There are some movies which truly deserve the big screen treatment. Think gorgeous landscapes, eye popping special effects and a soaring soundtrack. Then there are other movies which are better viewed on your home TV or computer screen. The story is decent, but there isn’t really a need to spend time in the theatre because the viewing (and sensory) experience just doesn’t warrant it. Unfortunately, this comedy directed by Miguel Arteta belongs in the latter category.
The premise is simple, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Mia and Mel are two very close childhood friends who run their own beauty company. They have very different personalities: one is more down to earth and approaches life in a practical manner, while the other looks for smart ways to earn wuick bucks so she can live a good life. Despite their different outlook in life, they know how to complement each other and have stuck it out for many years. Things change when they cross paths with a deceitful businesswoman who wants to buy over their company. With a less than healthy profit, the friends decide to go on board this collaboration and before they know it, things start going awry.
It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that things will turn out alright at the end of the movie. So we are looking at other factors here, whether the energy level is high enough to keep the show going, whether the cast delivers impressive performances, and whether there is a zest to this comedy that will make it stand out above the crop of forgettable flicks about friends standing by each other.
The filmmakers are wise enough to keep the runtime short at 83 minutes, and the jokes are quite well paced to have you adequately entertained throughout. The cast is a nice mix of female comedians. Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne play Mia and Mel, and there is a natural chemistry between the two ladies. Haddish is known for her various appearances as a funny woman (check out her breakout performance in 2017’s Girl Trip), while Byrne has proved her while in comedies like Bridesmaids (2011) and Bad Neighbours (2014). Then there is Salma Hayek who has a hell of a time playing the b**chy antagonist. Other supporting characters are played by Jennifer Coolidge, Billy Porter and surprise – Lisa Kudrow.
With these seemingly fine ingredients in place, the result is not what we expected. The movie does have its funny moments (especially when Byrne tries to make things difficult for Haddish after the two fall out), but is essentially a formulaic comedy that doesn’t break any new ground. After a while, the jokes become tiresome, and there may be a certain demographic of audience who do not appreciate cat fights. The talented actresses try their best to elevate the comedy above mediocrity, but there is little chance that you will remember this as an outstanding funny movie the moment the credits roll.
(The talented actresses deliver some laughs in this otherwise forgettable comedy)
Review by John Li