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1 item from 1998

Film review: 'Chairman of the Board'

16 March 1998 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

You'd think Trimark would have learned from the failure of "Meet Wally Sparks", but no.

The latest misbegotten vehicle for a comedian attempting to be the next Jim Carrey, "Chairman of the Board" marks the screen debut of Carrot Top, the aptly named comic with the out-of-control mop of red hair. Basically a cinematic extension of the comedian's prop-driven stand-up act, this mirthless exercise will have a none-too-brief theatrical run before reaching its adolescent target base on video and cable.

Mr. Top plays Edison, who is an inventor with a penchant for off-the-wall gadgets, some of which literally get him up in the morning. One day Edison comes to the automotive rescue of an elderly, surf-boarding enthusiast who's also a millionaire industrialist (Jack Warden, who deserves more dignified work at this stage of his career), and the two become fast friends. When the industrialist drops dead, he leaves his company in the hands of Edison, much to the consternation of the millionaire's scheming nephew Bradford (Larry Miller), who plots to sabotage Edison's reign and force stock prices down, thereby having control of the company revert to him.

The rest you can imagine. Edison, with the help of his slacker surfer buddies, invests the company with his particular brand of wackiness. Soon, other members of the board are occupying their time playing Twister, the employees are treated to Hawaiian luaus, and new products are devised -- like TV dinners with the television included. Edison also strikes up a more than improbable romance with a beautiful executive (Courtney Thorne-Smith, displaying an admirable good humor).

During the course of 95 minutes, Carrot Top manages the unlikely feat of managing not to do or say anything that seems remotely funny, although admittedly his brand of humor is for more specialized tastes. The only laughs in the film are generated by the ever-reliable Miller, whose timing and facial expressions make him a hilarious exemplar of comic malevolence. The other performers, including Raquel Welch and M. Emmet Walsh, go through their paces with professionalism, but they look as if they would rather be elsewhere.

Director Alex Zamm keeps things moving at a frenetic pace, constantly using bizarre camera angles and distortion lenses to produce a suitably animated effect. At other times, such as with a sequence depicting the inner workings of Carrot Top's brain, he resorts to animation directly. Viewers beware; the film utilizes extensive close-ups of Carrot Top's face, which, magnified to big-screen proportions, is not a sight for the faint-hearted.


Trimark Pictures

A 101st Street Films/Trimark Pictures production

Director: Alex Zamm

Screenplay: Al Septien, Turi Meyer, Alex Zamm

Story: Al Septien, Turi Meyer

Producer: Peter M. Lenkov, Rupert Harvey

Executive producer: Mark Amin

Co-executive producers: Brad L.C. Greenberg, Edward K. Phillips

Co-producers: Phillip B. Goldfine

Director of photography: David Lewis

Editor: Jim Hill

Production designer: Aaron Osborne

Music: Chris Hajian



Edison: Carrot Top

Natalie: Courtney Thorne-Smith

Bradford: Larry Miller

Grace Kosik: Raquel Welch

Ty: Mystro Clark

Zak: Jack Plotnick

Armand: Jack Warden

Ms. Krubavitch: Estelle Harris

Running time -- 95 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13


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