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Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

The Boss
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, and Peter Dinkledge
Synopsis: It would be easy to dismiss Melissa McCarthy. She long played a supporting character on TV, then got her own starring gig on “Mike & Molly,” a reasonably popular CBS sitcom that is frequently over looked and under appreciated. In between, she blew up as a crass, delightfully hilarious supporting player in “Bridesmaids.” Since then, McCarthy has played a number of similar characters in a variety of films. Some, like “Spy” and “The Heat,” have worked thanks to her talent and the ensemble. Others, like “Identity Thief” and “Tammy,” have fallen flat. Looking at the trailer for “The Boss,” it’s tempting to assume it falls into that latter category. But this is a sharply written film that makes the most of its cast in creating a delightful Spring comedy. McCarthy is a unique comedic talent. She can channel so many outlandish characters, but she does it in a way that keeps you hooked and keeps those characters relatable. That’s the case with “The Boss.” The film opens with a wild arena presentation sequence that sees McCarthy rapping alongside T-Pain. It’s unexpected, it’s hilarious and it launches you into this film. But McCarthy also delivers some beautiful emotional scenes, too. She has a good cast to play off here, and that helps. Bell is great in the supporting role, playing the straight woman against McCarthy’s crazy Michelle Darnell. Dinkledge, who is best known as Tyrion on “Game of Thrones,” does a good job with his role, too. He slides into this comedic performance and matches McCarthy in their craziness on screen. The story here is predictable, and the production is fairly predictable, too. The screenplay was co-written by McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directed the film. Clearly they have a good rapport together, and that helps. But this kind of film succeeds or fails based on McCarthy, and how much she can make you buy into the character she plays. Here, I thought this worked and had plenty of funny moments. It’s not an incredible film, but it’s an enjoyable watch with quirky characters and amusing scenes. This time of year, that’s all you’re really looking for in a comedy.
Rating: R for sexual content, language and brief drug use. Enter with caution.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.

God's Not Dead 2
Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe, Ray Wise, and Ernie Hudson
Synopsis: I wrote at length about my frustration, as a Christian, with the rhetoric in this film on Monday, so I won't re-hash that here. As a film, I'll say this movie is frustrating to me. It's a mix of beautiful sequences and powerful emotional storytelling, and sequences that don't really work. Overall, it's entertaining and will strike a chord with much of its intended audience — which is very conservative Christians who feel like their world view is under attack. I thought the performances were fairly decent, though most of the villains in this movie — particularly the character played by Wise — are two-dimensional to really be compelling. The film features a performance from The Newsboys and some fun sequences, but to me this movie falls short of what it could have been. It's OK, but it's not among the best Christian movies released this year.
Rating: PG for some thematic elements.
Verdict: Two stars out of four.

Upcoming Releases:
Friday, April 15 — "The Jungle Book," "Everybody Wants Some," "Criminal," "Barbershop The Next Cut"
Friday, April 22 — "The Huntsman: Winter's War," "Compadres"
Friday, April 29 — "Keanu," "Ratchet and Clank," "Mother's Day," "The Green Room"


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