My Boss's Daughter
Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
That's the sound of Ashton Kutcher's 15 minutes of fame quickly (and mercifully) reaching an end. With two hit television series (including the MTV reality show Punk'd), a high-profile romance with 40-something Demi Moore, and the threat of more important movie leads in the future (including Cameron Crowe's next film), Kutcher is Hollywood's current Flavor of the Month. Perhaps "Flavor of the Hour" is a more apt description.
Kutcher made his name playing "The Dumb Guy" on the Fox sitcom That '70s Show. You wouldn't think playing the Dumb Guy would be much of an acting challenge; Kutcher is easily the least talented member of that cast, stumbling over his lines like a rank amateur. I've never seen him do anything that made me believe he's leading-man material.
Granted, this bumbling screwball comedy from Dimension Films wouldn't be funny no matter who was playing the lead. Sloppily written by David Dorfman (Anger Management) and staidly directed by the once-great David Zucker (who with his brother Jerry and Jim Abrahams delivered Airplane! and Kentucky Fried Movie), My Boss's Daughter is a tasteless and illogical hodge-podge of yelling, falling, and urinating, all in the name of unrestrained hilarity.
Kutcher plays Tom, a nice-guy researcher at a Chicago publishing company who has aspirations of doing something more with his life. Unfortunately, his boss, Jack Taylor (Terence Stamp), is the world's most insufferable bastard, ruling his office through fear. Tom has a crush on Taylor's sexy blonde daughter Lisa, who is played schizophrenically by Tara Reid as both a serious businesswoman and a vapid teenybopper. When Tom shows up at the Taylor's suburban home to take Lisa to a party, he's chagrined to learn that he's actually been enlisted to housesit for his boss. In Dorfman and Zucker's cascading carousel of confusion, one misunderstanding leads to another, which results in a houseful of uninvited guests, including Lisa's drug-dealing older brother (Andy Richter), Taylor's biker-chick ex-secretary (Molly Shannon), a mumbling mobster, and an insecure young woman whose idea of getting ready for a blind date does not include cleaning her bloody head wound.
Very little of this is funny. Kutcher possesses neither the charisma nor the comic timing to serve as the anchor needed to ground all the surrounding nonsense. What this film needs is someone like News Radio's Dave Foley (who actually plays a supporting role here) or even Kutcher's '70s Show cohort Topher Grace, both experts at comic reaction who can play the nice guy. There's a reason Kutcher is best known as the Dumb Guy. (MM)
(Running time 1:25, rated PG-13)
This Merchant-Ivory adaptation of Diane Johnson's novel will do little to help heal the strained relationship between the United States and France. Nor will it satisfy filmgoers looking for something entertaining and witty.
Sisters Roxeanne and Isabel (Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson) are two Americans awash in French culture and feeling a bit superior to it. That's before Roxeanne's husband, Charles (Melvil Poupaud), unexpectedly leaves her when she's pregnant. Distraught, she tracks him down and finds him with a married woman--his new "soul mate." Adding insult to injury, a lawyer tells her the French courts will be far more lenient toward Charles in regards to property settlements. This means Roxanne might lose a valuable painting she owned prior to the marriage. Meanwhile, the painting has attracted the interest of Charles' mother (Leslie Caron), a well-mannered but ruthless woman.
Meanwhile, Isabel is getting her own crash course on French men. She becomes involved with Charles's uncle Edgar (Thierry Lhermitte), a suave politico who's much older and collects mistresses. The young woman is smitten by the attention of this cultured gent but misses the social cues that indicate she's a kept woman.
The sisters' parents (Sam Waterson and Stockard Channing) soon show up to care for their daughters and make sure the family painting doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Assuming the role of the ugly American is Matthew Modine, who plays the husband of the woman Charles is having the affair with. He's a neurotic, dangerous man out of place in this film.
You'd have to go a long way to find a more talented crew, yet it's far too mannered when it should be more down and dirty. I bet the French love it. (CK)
(Running time 1:55, rated PG-13)
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