Movie review: 'The Boss's Daughter'

1 star (out of 4)

What's the worst Hollywood studio movie out right now from a once-prestigious director, starring a gorgeous couple who regularly pop up in tabloid headlines and sporting a lot of tasteless gags about gangsters, homosexuality and the mentally challenged?

No, it's not "Gigli," but the even worse "My Boss's Daughter," which Dimension Films sneaked into town Friday without critics' screenings — usually a sure sign the studio expects bad reviews. In this case, their lack of confidence is fully justified.

Despite the presence of cutie-pie stars Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid, backed by Terence Stamp, Michael Madsen, Molly Shannon and other talented unfortunates, this is a movie that boggles the mind: a bad-taste comedy that makes the average effort by the Farrelly Brothers (mysteriously thanked in the credits) look like a Merchant-Ivory film.

In a truly obnoxious plot concocted by writer David Dorfman ("Anger Management"), Kutcher plays Tom Stansfield, a nervous young executive who picks up a lost briefcase on the train and experiences a chain of ludicrous misfortunes, starting when a gay hard-core porno magazine tumbles out in front of his boss' comely daughter Lisa (Reid), convincing her he's "harmless." Soon, Lisa cons Tom into housesitting, and Tom is duly warned not to damage the house by his ferocious boss Jack Taylor (Terence Stamp.)

Before you can say "shades of Ben Stiller," a plague of weird catastrophes descends on hapless Tom — including the sudden arrivals of Lisa's pathological brother, Red (Andy Richter), along with Jack's fired, angry secretary, Audrey (Molly Shannon), her conspiracy freak pal, Speed (David Koechner), and murderous gangster T.J. (played by "Reservoir Dogs'" Michael Madsen), who gets burned in a cocaine deal and proceeds to demolish the house.

To make matters worse, Jack's pet owl, O.J., escapes, snorts the cocaine out of a toilet bowl and unleashes endless idiotic complications and a torrent of horrendous "O.J." jokes.

The movie, in true Farrelly spirit, also features "jokes" about vomiting, toilet habits, racism, lechery, bloody head wounds and at least three separate scenes in which characters relieve themselves on somebody else's shoes. By the time we've reached the running folliculitis gag, in which two characters moon the camera, we've had more than enough. But the movie won't quit.

"Boss's Daughter" is supposedly shot in Chicago, which we rarely see — to the city's advantage. Most of it takes place inside Jack's oddly dull suburban mansion, shot in a drab style that mirrors the script's emptiness. Director David Zucker, who once, with Jim Abrahams and brother Jerry made the truly funny bad-taste comedy "Ruthless People," here seems to have gotten mired in high-concept hell. As for stars Kutcher and Reid, they look as if they're having more fun in the tabloids.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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