Big Boss (2023) – Movie Review and Summary (with Spoilers)

Keke Palmer’s “Big Boss” certainly had the potential to be something notable, but the music interrupts what brings the film value.


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Title Card - Big Boss

Keke Palmer’s “Big Boss” certainly had the potential to be something notable, but the music interrupts what brings the film value.

Director(s) Keke Palmer
Screenplay By Keke Palmer
Based On The Life of Keke Palmer
Date Released (YouTube) May 12, 2023
Genre(s) Drama, Young Adult, Biopic, Musical
Film Length 41 Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Characters and Cast
Herself Keke Palmer
TJ Robert Ri’chard
Young Keke Skai Jackson
Pepper Kyle Massey
Therapist Karen Maline White

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

“Big Boss” pursues you getting a sense of who Keke Palmer is. From a young woman with a strong faith in God and herself to someone constantly challenged by people who don’t understand her, both professionally and personally. Yet, with only knowing perseverance and her talent, Keke soldiers on and tries to balance being likable enough to attract the people she wants while being the kind of boss who doesn’t care about those who can’t get with the program.

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. Kyle Massey and Robert Ri’chard are in the film, alongside Skai Jackson and Karen Maline White.

Things To Note

Why Is “Big Boss” Rated Not Rated

  • Dialog: Some Cursing Throughout
  • Violence: Minor fight scenes
  • Sexual Content: Provocative clothing but nothing you couldn’t see in any music video
  • Miscellaneous: Demonic imagery

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

KeKe Palmer

In the version of Keke Palmer we’re introduced to, it’s like watching someone who wants to see their music career reach the progress of their acting career. They want to belong to the industry and find success in music, but it’s a constant challenge since marketing her as an actress seems to come easier to the powers that be than her as a singer. But what doesn’t help is a general feeling of being misunderstood, maybe even alone, despite friends and family, including her mom, not only being accessible but who reach out to spend time with her.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: True Jackson in “True Jackson, VP,” Chilli in “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” Zayday Williams in “Scream Queens,” Gigi in “Star,” and Emerald Haywood in “Nope.”

Young Keke

Young Keke (Skai Jackson)
“Young Keke (Skai Jackson),” Big Boss, directed by Keke Palmer, 2023, (YouTube)

When it comes to Young Keke, what we see is the period where she is starting to venture out into the world without her mom and realizing there has been so much she was shielded from – likely for a good reason.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Zuri Ross in “Bunk’d,” “Jessie,” and other Disney Channel shows.

TJ

TJ (Robert Ri'Chard), Keke Palmer, and Pepper (Kyle Massey)
“TJ (Robert Ri’Chard), Keke Palmer, and Pepper (Kyle Massey),” Big Boss, directed by Keke Palmer, 2023, (YouTube)

TJ seemed to be a friend, someone you could trust enough to get close to, but once he gets comfortable with Keke, he reveals his true self, who isn’t someone she can feel safe with.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Shawn in “Harlem,” Michael McCoy in the “Chocolate City” franchise, Arnaz Ballard in “One-on-One,” and Bobby Walker in “Cousin Skeeter.”

Pepper

Pepper is an associate of TJ, who appears to work in music and is into what seems to be some nefarious stuff.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Cory Baxter in “That’s So Raven” and “Cory In The House.”

Therapist

Therapist (Karen Malina White)
“Therapist (Karen Malina White),” Big Boss, directed by Keke Palmer, 2023, (YouTube)

Simply put, Keke’s therapist.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Charmaine in “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World,” Nicolette Vandross in “Malcolm & Eddie,” and Dijonay Jones in “The Proud Family.”

Review


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Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

When The Focus Is On Keke’s Feelings & Relationships

Keke Palmer
“Keke Palmer,” Big Boss, directed by Keke Palmer, 2023, (YouTube)

When it comes to Keke Palmer, Zendaya, Raven, and others, there is always the question of what kept them grounded, and for Keke Palmer, it is clear faith and family did that. However, that doesn’t mean she still didn’t have the same issues as her contemporaries regarding feeling torn between multiple worlds and their expectations of her. The music world and acting world want different things from her and have different expectations. Based on the therapy scenes, her mom/ manager hasn’t perfected when to take off the manager hat and just be her mother.

It even goes deeper than that in terms of the challenges of forming her own identity as someone expected to be extroverted when she can’t be that person all the time. Throw in challenging relationships with men who seem cool until they get too comfortable? Never mind seeing beyond the curtain and learning the truth about her peers that raises all kinds of red flags? And what you get is what sometimes feels like a string of memorable moments in Keke’s life connected just enough to tell a cohesive story.

On The Fence

The Music

To me, the music feels dated. It gives off inspired by the 90s but lacks the innovation that makes music from that decade a vibe that is repeatedly revisited. Also, most of the songs clash more than meld with everything else in the film. For while Keke does have some semblance of joy, like when she is in the studio or is doing a pitch someone is receptive to, most of the film is very reflective. It’s not geared toward the monotonous club music.

So every time a song comes on, it pushes you to fast forward. Especially since a lot of them sound so similar that, even though the lyrics are different and what Keke is singing about, there just isn’t enough variety for any of them to be worth revisiting once the film is over. It’s like, once Palmer heard a sound she liked, she would just have the engineer tweak it enough to come off different while still holding a similar beat.

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Watch The Film

Title Card - Big Boss
Big Boss (2023) – Movie Review and Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
In some ways, “Big Boss” makes for an interesting and artistic view of Palmer’s life. However, as she is often associated with being extra or doing the most, unfortunately, “Big Boss” suffers from the same by trying to do too many things. Of which, in particular, trying to have a compelling drama mixed with music video sequences and artistic scenes makes it so the more serious bits try to compensate for the film's weaker aspects but struggle to do so consistently.
Highlights
When The Focus Is On Keke’s Feelings & Relationships
Disputable
The Music
77

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