Comfortable and Furious

My Boss’s Daughter (2003)

Genuine atrocities are a rare find in today’s entertainment world. Because most films are content to be merely incompetent and dull, it takes great skill and effort to rise above it all as an all-time masterpiece of horror. Even in some of the worst films ever made, it is still possible to see what the filmmakers were attempting, as if it were obvious that post-production difficulties compromised what could have been a noble failure. However, when it is impossible to understand what is going on or what anyone might have been thinking at every stage of the process, we end up with something like My Boss’s Daughter, a film so ill-conceived and broken that it seems to have been botched on purpose.

It just seems difficult to imagine that something this horribly twisted and atrocious could have been produced without someone, somewhere intending it to be a cautionary tale of what not to do when the cameras begin rolling. Imagine a film utterly devoid of charm, timing, skill, or simple entertainment value. Now imagine a film so poorly acted and pathetically staged that the Razzies will be forced to devise sweeping new categories to cover all the guilty parties. And I have yet to inform you that this debacle stars Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid, two of the most witless cretins working today. I’m exhausted even thinking about it.

It comes as no surprise to discover that this film was shot several years ago and sat on the shelf, no doubt awaiting its final resting place at the bottom of an ash can. But wait! Kutcher went from well-deserved obscurity to fame and fortune solely by sleeping with Demi Moore, so the brainiacs at the film studio decided to get cracking, shipping out a few thousand prints (avoiding any screenings by critics, of course) to cash in on the new star’s unexplained appeal. It doesn’t matter that the film either wasn’t finished or was made by a pack of wild, hungry, and sexually frustrated retards, there was money to be made and explanations could be put together at a later date.

Why was Terence Stamp in this mess, showing his ass and being covered from head to toe with sludge? Who cares! Haven’t you seen that kid in Just Married and that MTV Candid Camera rip-off? Why were we insisting yet again that Tara Reid had even a shred of intelligence or acting ability or could deliver lines without appearing to have a gun to her head? And speaking of Ms. Reid, who, my good friends, is even outperformed by the barely sentient Carmen Electra (who herself threatens to be overtaken by her monstrous and ever-increasing breasts), what are we to make of this bleached dipshit? She is never convincing as any character she strains to play [Ed Note: Except as a cock-sucking whore in The Big Lebowski], and I am tired of being forced to believe that she deserves a shot at the top. With Brittany Murphy currently on the scene, haven’t we already met our quota for half-starved, shrill slabs of flesh?

Okay, there is a story of sorts, but I’m not sure that was intended. Kutcher is Tom, an ambitious lad who is trying to get promoted at work, so he makes an appeal to Stamp, his rough, mean-spirited boss. Thinking that he is hooking up with Lisa (Reid), he accidentally volunteers to house sit for Stamp, which encompasses keeping the abode spotless, feeding an owl named O.J. (which leads me to believe this has been sitting on the shelf since 1995), and not — I repeat — not inviting over any guests. So, the remainder of the film involves Kutcher desperately trying to keep the house free of trouble, which of course means that it will be trashed, the owl will fly out the door, and at some point Stamp will return home early to discover the mess. Along the way we get to meet Molly Shannon (as Stamp’s ex-secretary) and her trashy friends, one of whom is a nut who believes that Desi Arnaz shot JFK, and the other is the aforementioned Electra, who stands around clueless, albeit with perky nipples.

There is also a psychotic drug dealer who pisses all over the carpet, a neighbor girl with a head wound who leaves her blood all over the furniture, and Lisa’s ex-boyfriend, who turns out to be a chubby black man that attempts suicide at least once. No, it’s not as amusing as it sounds, and it is remarkable to believe that such characters even passed on paper. They drink beer, smash chairs and lamps, and track mud through the house, while Tom roams the neighborhood looking for the lost owl (this gives him an opportunity to scream, “O.J.’s on the loose!” while screaming blond girls run for their lives). Ahh, there’s nothing like humor taken straight from the headlines.

Matters are complicated by the fact that at first, Lisa thinks Tom is gay, so she acts playful and carefree, which leads to a bizarre strip tease and dance sequence that is itself enough to force Reid from the business for good. Tom reveals that he is not gay, so Lisa feels betrayed and runs away crying. But Tom deeply loves Lisa since they bonded over a mutual love of the Chicago Bears, and apparently speak in some long-dead language that only diseased chimps can now understand. I thought I had seen the worst of the unconvincing romances, but from now on this will be the standard by which I judge all others.

It speaks volumes that I can’t remember one interesting, or even semi-coherent thing the two said to each other. And this budding love was set against a backdrop of escaped mice, shattering glass, Andy Richter’s shameless mugging, and again, Terence Stamp’s ass. If this is what he has been reduced to, can we please start a Ruthless Fund for his financial support? I’ll even put in the first dollar, so long as he promises that from now on, he will read the script before he signs the deal.

So while the public seems preoccupied with the mega-bomb Gigli, please understand that there is something far worse at your local cineplex. It might be more enjoyable to watch Lopez and Affleck crash and burn, but Kutcher and Reid do not deserve to escape our attention. And is this all we can expect from David Zucker, the man who once brought us Airplane! and The Naked Gun? Times are tough for a lot of people Dave, but few are compelled to share their misery with a paying public. I’ve been slack-jawed with shame and outrage before, and no doubt I’ll feel that way again, but for now, I will believe that with My Boss’s Daughter is the worst that civilization has to offer. I’m mindful that Hollywood has always believed in topping itself (for good and bad), but I’d like to freeze this moment in time and preserve a fleeting memory that on a particular Friday during a muggy August in the year 2003, I witnessed the peak of man’s inhumanity to man.