MY BOSS'S DAUGHTER
Tom (Ashton Kutcher) works as a researcher for iron hearted publisher Jack Taylor (Terence Stamp) with one eye on a more creative role and the other on the boss's daughter, Lisa (Tara Reid). When Tom finally plucks up enough courage to say "hi" she assumes he is gay and he unwittingly agrees to mind the boss's mansion to get closer to her. Trouble is that Jack is a despot so particular about who he has in the house, he even has a restraining order out against his son and threatens Tom with his life if O.J., Jack's precious pet owl, has a feather out of place on his return home. With blood on the sofa, urine on the carpet and O.J. on the loose, Tom's prospects with Lisa seem anything but rosy.
Review by Keith Lofthouse:
"Why, out of all the hundreds of screens in Melbourne," I asked, "is this film only being released on one?" My expectations plummeted when the publicist replied, as if I was taking up too much of her time, "well, it's only a small picture." I'll say it's small. For its "exclusive season," My Boss's Daughter was being dumped on a single screen out in far suburban Sunshine as if it were the 77th season of Gone With The Wind or a bum-numbing documentary on Basket Weaving In Tanganyika...with subtitles in Swahili.
The truth is that it got lousy reviews in the U.S. and barely made its money back...and so, you must hurry, because it won't last long out there in never, never land or in the nether regions of anywhere for that matter, which is a great pity, because it's funnier than any slice of American Pie and only half as gross.
Directed by David Zucker, whose distinguished career includes credits for Flying High, Top Secret! Ruthless People and The Naked Gun, this cute and often surprising comedy is a brazen bid to clone Meet The Parents and it succeeds beyond this reviewer's worst fears. Just as Ben Affleck came a cropper when he strives to impress forbidding father Robert De Niro, Ashton Kutcher is frozen out when he tries to thaw the glacial demeanour of Terence Stamp as the kind of guy who sets bear traps on his front lawn "to keep the neighbour's kids out of my yard." Tom just can't keep perfect house when the blow-ins include a sacked co-worker (Molly Shannon) and her creepy cronies; a gun-toting drug-dealer (Michael Madsen) with a penchant for pissing on the Persian carpet and Jack's estranged son Red, who not only takes a crowbar to the family safe but also takes the ointment to his "folliculitis" (you really don't want to know).
Kutcher, 26, best known to Australian audiences for TV's That 70s Show and for dating Demi Moore, 41, is agreeably good-natured and goofy and his doe-eyed good looks help. As the manicured mansion gets mangled around him, he is effectively fretful, frustrated and desperate...we can see what Demi sees in him and he can double-take with the best of them. He was unfairly nominated for "Worst Actor Of The Year" for this film, together with Just Married and Cheaper By The Dozen, in the annual Raspberries...more the pretty boy curse than a lack of talent, I think. Tara Reid's nomination is perhaps closer to the mark. Kutcher shares a hilarious scene with neighbour Jeffrey Tambor when he is mistaken as a hunky date for Tambor's daughter...a sad wall-flower with a cracked skull who staggers round the house swathed in bandages, still leaking blood from the wound.
The film is fashionably irreverent so we can forgive minor forays into toilet humour, like Lisa inviting Tom to "take a crap," because she seems like a bit of a scrubber anyway. Zucker sets a cracking pace with a free flow of sight, sound and shock gags. Some are at the expense of O. J. Simpson (that's who the owl is named after) and if you want to know who really killed JFK you can find out here. Well, even at a cost of $14 million this might be a "small picture" but the laughs are big. To paraphrase Norma Desmond, "it's only the marketing that got small."
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MY BOSS'S DAUGHTER (PG)
CAST: Ashton Kutcher, Tara Reid, Terence Stamp, Jeffrey Tambor, Molly Shannon
PRODUCER: Paddy Cullen, Phil Dornfield, John L. Jacobs, Ashton Kutcher, Gil Nettle
DIRECTOR: David Zucker
SCRIPT: David Dorfman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Martin McGrath
EDITOR: Samuel Craven, Patrick Lussier
MUSIC: Terry Castelluci
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew Laws
RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 22, 2004
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE
VIDEO RELEASE: September 15, 2002
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.