My Boss's Daughter (2003) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude humor, drug content and language
Running time: 85 min.
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Tara Reid, Molly Shannon, Terence Stamp, Michael Madsen, Andy Richter, Kenan Thompson, Carmen Electra, Jon Abrahams
Director: David Zucker
Screenplay: David Dorfman
Here's another one of those movies that the critics had a feeding frenzy over, tearing it mercilessly apart, and proclaiming it one of the worst films of the year. Yet again, I watch it with admittedly the lowest expectations and find that it really isn't half bad at all. Sure, much of the comedy smacks of Meet the Parents-type situations, but even that film was merely a retread of 100 films before it. It's not a film that's trying to be groundbreaking, it's just trying to make you laugh, and although much of the humor is more miss than hit, when it hits, it hits quite well.
Ashton Kutcher plays Tom, known in his book publishing company as "a guy who'll do anything for anyone anytime." He has some ideas for some books of his own, scheduling a meeting with his boss, Jack, who proves to be quite an unscrupulous and intimidating guy. Later, he bumps into Jack's daughter, thinking she is asking him out to a party, but when he goes to pick her up at her father's estate, he finds that in reality she was trying to ask him to housesit while she goes to a party. Not wanting to displease Jack or Lisa, he agrees to sit the house for the evening, but Jack is very strict about the rules of behavior and keeping the place immaculate, and Tom is rightfully nervous when unexpected guests keep arriving, and he finds them impossible to control.
Part of the reason I took a chance on watching this despite the vicious reviews is because it's directed by David Zucker, responsible for many funny comedies, including Airplane! and The Naked Gun. His comic timing is quite good here, even if much of the humor is of the crudest variety, penned by Anger Management screenwriter, David Dorfman. Both of Dorfman's screenplays thus far are of the type where a mild-mannered person tries to maintain his cool when all the eccentrics around him threaten to drive him insane. These kinds of films are practically what Ben Stiller has built a career out of, and while this is Kutcher's first time in the role, he does an adequate job for a newbie.
My Boss's Daughter's biggest downfall is its very tired plot, and a certain level of predictability as catastrophic events start to occur, most of them telegraphed well in advance. There is also quite a bit of rather tasteless humor, penis jokes, and even a good share of bathroom humor, probably pushing the PG-13 rating to the maximum allowable quotient. Still, I found myself laughing a fair amount throughout, especially whenever the film dealt with Jack's beloved owl on the prowl. With all of the comedians involved in the film, perhaps it's not the best sign that a bird steals the show.
If you're in the mood for some broad, silly humor, you could do worse than My Boss's Daughter as far as a second or third choice for an evening of rentals. Even if it's not a great film, it can be entertaining for those in the right kind of mood for it. Don't expect anything close to greatness, as this definitely will probably not pass any litmus tests in quality. However, it you are a little twisted in your sense of humor, you might find yourself laughing out loud despite the trite and often ridiculously sophomoric antics.
© 2003 Vince Leo