It’s at about the 30-minute mark in My Boss’s Daughter, when you check your watch and note that there’s another 80 minutes to go. That’s when the realization that you are suspended somewhere between the fifth and sixth circles of hell starts to sink in. (This actually only applies if you are contractually obligated to sit through the entire movie; if you are merely a regular paying customer, feel free to leave and demand a refund.) Everything you’ve seen so far is real: the retard joke that took a whole five minutes to show up, the pet owl named O.J. who just drank a toilet bowl full of cocaine, a bunch of uninvited guests at the boss’ house, and, finally, Michael Madsen pissing all over Ashton Kutcher and the rest of the living room. Yes, it actually happened.
Tom Stansfield (Kutcher) has an opening voiceover in which he says that he doesn’t believe in the saying “everything happens for a reason” because he’s the unluckiest sumbitch alive. Naturally this means that from there on out, everything that happens to poor Tom is for a reason, and it just so turns out that it’s what he was hoping for: make-out time with the boss’s daughter, Lisa (Tara Reid).
A lot of wild and crazy stuff happens to tightly wound Tom. He agrees to house-sit his boss’s bird while the man is on vacation, believing that he was actually agreeing to take his daughter out on a date. The boss, Mr. Taylor (Terence Stamp, who is demeaning his legacy as one of the great badasses of cinema by unleashing his snarl in tripe like this), is nasty and mean, and Tom wants everything to go perfectly while he is entrusted with this rare responsibility. By evening’s end he has buried a body, learned that JFK was killed by Desi Arnaz, met a creepy girl with a massive open head wound, and left the house in shambles. Kutcher does a yeoman’s job as the movie’s straight man, but any hope he might have had of turning this into a viable vehicle was a mistake from the get-go. He has not yet attained the elusive stardom that might have elevated this to a mediocre movie as opposed to what it is now, which is an offensively bad movie.
Movies like My Boss’s Daughter sometimes find success, and somebody out there might actually find it humorous. But most will see it for what it really is: a tedious, tonally confused mishmash of sight gags and slapstick. That latter part has worked well in the past for director David Zucker, who clearly has an O.J. Simpson fetish (he wrote and directed The Naked Gun, which was a very funny film). My Boss’s Daughter is a stinker from start to endless finish.
Erin Podolsky writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].