Like a Boss - Movie Review
I was casually browsing Amazon Prime and stumbled upon this movie’s 2-line review and was intrigued to watch it. For 2 reasons. It was about friendship. And Entrepreneurship. Two of the most important things I cherish in my own life. The 1 hour 20 film was a breezy roll with some great camaraderie, nonsensical stuff that closest friends end up doing, personal and professional challenges we all go through, especially when we decide to work “together” and finally the big and ugly world of “Vulture Capitalists” as it is being displayed in many films as well as in the general domain. The reality, is of course different.
Mia Carter (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel Paige (Rose Byrne) are two childhood friends who set-up and run a Cosmetics business and have adorned the cover of many a few local magazines and garnered awards. As is the case in many start-ups, they have built a great business running huge debts (read: Investments), especially with their signature “One-Night Stand” make-up kit which can be carried in handbags and could apparently come of use “anytime”. The two girls have their fun moments at their common friends’ places and some typical naughty, rather notorious behaviour which I could relate myself to, during my younger years (one guys blows another on the face after a few drinks at 2am and the ensuing fight in the middle of Mount Road in Chennai!).
Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) a successful Entrepreneur who owns a large Cosmetics company Oviedo shows interest to invest in M&M, pay off their debts and acquire 49% in M&M after much relenting to let go of the business control but Mia resists it saying they would lose control of the day to-day operations and would be accountable to someone else, the precise reason why they ended up on their own. Due to repeated persistence by Mel, Mia accepts to go forward with the proposal and we see typical “Investor” stuff – trying to take charge of internal processes, fire loyalists of the original Founders, get new products / unrelated additions in to the business and so on. Ultimately, Mia & Mel break-up after an adventurous yet hilarious escapade by Mia at the HQ of the company trying to do some Jackie Chan-kind of stuff which leaves both Mel and Claire embarrassed. However, the two reconcile soon after their common friends pep them up and once again join hands to launch yet another signature brand “Proud” with an interesting product “Ride or Die” which is a make-up kit for last minute travel, road trips or perhaps, some bestie time. That the Investor in “Proud” is Shay Whitmore (Lisa Kudrow), the former Co-Founder of Oviedo is a coup of sorts by Mel & Mia.
Aside the film’s script, here are some key learnings from my own experiences – self as what I have seen others do. From Apple to Microsoft, Infosys to Flipkart, hundreds of Companies worldwide have been founded by friends, in many cases childhood friends. Not all of them stand the test of time and the reason for most of the break-ups is not a mindset difference or a professional misunderstanding rather Money, Greed and Power. As in the case of Mel & Mia, Mel is more practical and wants to ensure she comes out of the “debt trap” that M&M is in to, while Mia wants to retain control on the business and wants things “her way”. This is the first point when business partners – be it a couple or friends go astray. From pushing their agenda for common good to being considered a bully – a Co-Founder could go to any extent even as the other(s) have to either relent or decide to move on. Ego has no bounds and can cloud any other judgement, misjudgement rather.
In the film,Claire says “there is nothing called permanent friendship. ‘Cause no one stays besties once money comes in; Money changes everything”. While the jury is still out if best friends make great business partners, my own learning is to keep the two aside. Not all of us are lucky to have lifetime friends. Or Lifetime Business partners. Or, Perhaps both. So, rather keep the two separate. After all, “Friendship is not just about the high points, it’s about the low points too. And everything in between! Enjoy the movie!