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The Ending Of Like A Boss Explained

There's the age-old warning that friends shouldn't go into business together. If their great idea suddenly turns south, it's a recipe for disaster. This is ultimately the case for long-time besties Mel Paige (Rose Byrne, who starred in the influential "Insidious" film series) and Mia Carter (Tiffany Haddish of "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent"), beauty company co-owners whose bond is pushed to the limit in the 2020 comedy "Like a Boss."

While the rest of their friend group has gotten married and settled down to start families, this dynamic duo is fighting to keep their Mia&Mel brand — which is nearly $500,000 in debt — up and running. Just when things are looking bleak, cosmetics industry mogul Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) offers to pay off the massive debt and invest $1.7 million in them, but at a big cost — Claire would own 51% of their company.

Mel, the financially-driven, strategic one in the friendship, is all for it. Mia, who boasts a go-with-the-flow, creative attitude, has a bad feeling about the deal but agrees. What happens when they sign Claire's contract in an effort to become, as she says, "fierce-st" entrepreneurs? Let's take a look at how "Like a Boss" ends and what it all means.

What happens at the conclusion of Like a Boss?

Over the course of the film's 80-minute runtime, Mel and Mia grow further and further apart as Claire drives a wedge between them. She tries to influence them into pushing dramatic, caked-on looks, rather than their preferred natural beauty aesthetic, and attempts to mentor Mel into becoming cold and calculated just like her. This, in turn, causes Mia to distance herself from her friend. All the while, Claire is plotting to steal their popular One Night Stand makeup kit idea, which is how she discovered them in the first place.

But true besties always find their way back together. After recognizing how much they need and miss each other, Mel and Mia plot revenge by going into business with Claire's ex-business partner Shay Whitmore ("Friends" star Lisa Kudrow), who is badmouthed by Claire throughout the film.

Since their original brand is still under contract with Claire, Mel and Mia team up with Shay to launch the new cosmetics company Proud Cosmetics, featuring Ride or Die makeup kits that can be used by best friends to get ready together. Naturally, Claire isn't so "fierce-st" anymore when they crash the launch party for her stolen idea. Not only will the pair be raking in the cash from Proud, but they'll also receive their agreed-upon 49% of the earnings from Mia&Mel, according to Claire's contract.

Claire had no intention of helping Mel and Mia

When the friends first meet Claire, her offer seems like a dream come true to Mel. Not only would she pay off their company's ever-rising debt, but she'd also make Mia&Mel a major contender in the cosmetics industry. Sure, Claire has her quirks, like carrying around a golf club on a regular basis. But for the struggling entrepreneur, she seemed like a contoured knight in shining armor. However, Mia was right to be more cynical about the situation.

On numerous occasions, viewers hear about Claire's former partner Shay, who she has no kind words for. But according to Shay, Claire actually pushed her out of their business in order to enjoy solo success. Claire has absolutely no idea how to connect with other women, and possibly targeted Mel and Mia for the sheer pleasure of splitting them up and taking their biggest product. She has no respect for their friendship, which dates back to childhood when Mel's family took in Mia due to her mother's addiction. 

As everything unfolds, Claire is also onboarding cosmetics duo Greg (Ryan Hansen) and Ron (Jimmy O. Yang), two straight men who she never pits against each other. This drives home the idea that she feels unnecessarily competitive with other successful women, especially those who have a strong friendship bond.

Everyone's happy ending doesn't look the same

Early on in "Like a Boss," audiences are introduced to Mel and Mia's other friends, who are married with children and seem pretty judgmental of their makeup endeavors. As two single, middle-aged women, they start to question their choices, especially whether or not it's weird that they're still roommates. In fact, this drive to prove their friends wrong likely influences the decision to partner with Claire to some degree, despite the glaring red flags.

Yet later on in the movie, their friends reveal that they'd actually prefer the life of Mel and Mia. In their opinion, hanging out with your bestie on a daily basis and not having a husband and children to answer to seems like heaven. It goes to show that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

It also shows that not everybody's happy ending follows a traditional path. In an interview with FilmIsNow Movie Bloopers & Extras, Salma Hayek praised "Like a Boss" for highlighting this concept. She said, "Most of comedies about girls are about, a lot of times finding the guy. And this one is not about that. It's about women succeeding in business, in their careers and also in relationships, but not necessarily with men, but with each other."

Mel and Mia's flagship products align with their goals

When Mel and Mia are operating their quaint cosmetics shop, their most popular offering is the One Night Stand makeup kit. Basically, it's a small pouch containing a handful of staple products that a customer can use to freshen up after staying at a hookup's place. At this point in their lives, with all of their friends settling down, Mel and Mia are looking for male companionship, even if it's just for the evening.

Upon teaming up with Shay and launching Proud Cosmetics, their main product no longer has to do with impressing a man. Rather, Ride or Die is all about bonding with your best friends. The kits aren't meant for creating full-glam looks, but rather allowing natural beauty to shine through. Ride or Die symbolizes the fact that Mel and Mia went through some tough times and came out stronger on the other side. Just as the products in Ride or Die aim to simply enhance what's already there, Mel and Mia realize that they make each other better, flaws and all.

While One Night Stand represents temporary, surface-level connections, Ride or Die is a testament to the lifelong love that comes with a true best friend. Mel and Mia recognize the importance of having such a connection, and are proud that their friendship can withstand financial issues and cutthroat executives.