Businesswoman Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) is riding high on her wealth and celebrity, until she gets convicted of insider trading and spends six months in jail. By the time of her release she has lost all her money, so she moves in with her assistant Clare (Kristen Bell) and her preteen daughter who's a member of the Dandelions, a Girl Scout-like troop in which the girls sell brownies. Soon Michelle decides to start her own brownie empire, Michelle's Darlings, in order to make her comeback and take down her enemy Helen (Annie Mumolo) in the process.
This film provides examples of:
- A Minor Kidroduction: The opening scene shows Michelle being returned to the orphanage at ages 5, 10 and 15 by her adoptive parents.
- Alpha Bitch: Helen is an older version with a girl scout troop, where she bullies them and puts them down, along with the other den-mothers.
- Bad Boss: Michelle was this to Claire, even making her whiten her teeth at one point, despite that not being in her job description. Later, Claire has to deal with Dana, who's snobby, vain, and overbearing.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Michelle spends her whole childhood as an orphan, and is rejected and taken back to the orphanage by her foster/adoptive parents.
- Expy: Michelle, of Martha Stewart and Suze Orman.
- Freudian Excuse: As noted with the abovementioned, much of Michelle's personality and how she treats most everyone is because she was left at an orphanage and kept being returned.
- Hypocritical Humor: Claire reprimands her 10-year-old daughter for yelling "Holy shit!" when she finds Michelle in the closet, only to do the same thing seconds later.
- Parents as People: Claire is a good parent to her 10-year old daughter, but she does have a lot to contend with as a single mother.
- Riches to Rags: Michelle after her release from jail, to her surprise, and even more so when she has to move into her former employee's home.
- Scout-Out: The Dandelions and Michelle's Darlings are based on the Girl Scouts.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Was the case for Michelle until she's arrested for insider trading.
- That Man Is Dead: Ronald's reaction when Michelle calls him by that name, in which case, he reminds her that he's "Renault" now.
- White-Collar Crime: Michelle ends up in jail for insider trading.
- Woman Scorned: Inverted; Ronald (or "Renault", as he calls himself) holds a grudge against Michelle, after their engagement broke off because the latter took a promotion. This is partially the reason as to why Michelle was arrested for insider trading, as he tipped off the authorities.