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- STUFF - 

Javier Bardem is at his charismatic and calculating best in this pitch-black Spanish workplace comedy about a family-owned industrial scales business experiencing a week from hell.

It had all started so well for Basculas Blanco CEO Julio Blanco (Bardem), the company nominated for a prestigious civic award for their business excellence.

But while he strategises how to impress the judging committee during their impending visit, there are increasing signs that a reset and realignment is rapidly needed if the company is going to avoid tipping over into chaos. A recently sacked employee has begun waging a very public one-man war against Blanco, the factory is beset by mistakes caused by a senior member of staff distracted by marital strife and, to his horror, the boss himself has discovered that the intern he has had a dalliance with is actually someone he first met long ago.

Known for his caring and paternalistic approach towards his employees, Blanco prides himself on being able to solve any problem and make the difficult decisions “for the good of the family”. But even his charisma and manipulative ways may be no match for a man fighting for his future, a worker’s wife angry at his meddling in her private life and an ambitious young woman who isn’t about to let him secretly torpedo her career.

The most nominated film in the history of Spain’s Goya Awards (it eventually took home six of the 20 trophies it was up for), writer-director Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s (Loving Pablo, A Perfect Day) tale is a perfectly paced and pitched, entertaining, engrossing watch from start to finish. Fans of European farces will find plenty to enjoy, as things start spiralling out of control for Bardem’s Blanco, broad, sometimes slapstick humour combining beautifully with more subtle and less-straightforward storytelling, resulting in a narrative that offers plenty of twists and turns and will keep the audience guessing as to the outcome until the final frames.

Alongside the excellent Bardem (No Country For Old Men, Spectre), there are also terrific performances from Official Competition’s Manolo Solo as the factory’s one-man-logistics-and-OSH-nightmare and newcomer Almudena Amor as the intern who proves to be just as good at marketing herself as the company’s products.

At times a surprisingly scabrous and scathing satire, The Good Boss features the memorable use of Michael Buble’s version of Feelin’ Good and multiple nods to The Godfather, while espousing the importance of hard work, loyalty and balance in order to ensure business success.

- James Croot, STUFF

The Good Boss is now playing in select theatres across New Zealand!