- Movie: Chairman of the Board
- Directors: Alex Zamm
- Starring: Scott “Carrot Top” Thompson, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Larry Miller, Raquel Welch
- Rotten Tomatoes rating: 13%
A Little Context
The opening of the Wikipedia article contains basically all you will ever need to know about this movie:
Chairman of the Board is a 1998 comedy film starring Courtney Thorne-Smith and Carrot Top in which a surfer/inventor (Carrot Top) inherits and runs a billionaire’s company. It was poorly received by both critics and audiences.
I was 14 when this movie came out. I have a vague recollection of Carrot Top being somewhat big in the 90s. A brief moment where people were like “hey Carrot Top is kind of cool.” Chairman of the Board is an obvious and simplistic cash grab at whatever Carrot Top boom was going on at the time, with no concern of the boom’s longevity. As you’ve probably guessed, it did not last long. The estimated budget for Chairman of the Board was a baffling $10,000,000. The film unfortunately only made back less than $200,000. Carrot Top has never had another starring role in a movie.
Check out this hilarious, wacky trailer:
Carrot Top plays Edison. Edison likes to invent stuff (get it? Edison)…and surf (get it? board). When the film opens Edison doesn’t have a lot of money. Sadly, none of his inventions have caught on. These “inventions” are basically just the silly props Carrot Top is famous for. With no money and it being his turn to pay the rent, Edison must look for work. While out on a drive, Edison comes across an old man on the side of the road with a broken-down car. Edison is unsuccessful at repairing the vehicle but he and the old man bond over surfing (the old man is a surfer) and inventions (the old man is also an inventor). Not long after that, the old man dies and inexplicably decides that because Edison is creative, he should run the old man’s company. You’ll have to watch the movie to get the rest of this thrill ride…
Besides the random bequeathing part, this movie is basically Tommy Boy with Chris Farley swapped out for Carrot Top. So Tommy Boy minus the humor or charm. This is the ultimate issue with the movie, the main character isn’t likable. He has that frustrating blend of sometimes being smart and then sometimes being dumb. He either gets shit done or is bizarrely unaware of his surroundings. Maybe my bar is too high, but I tend to have a problem with characters that wouldn’t actually seem to be able to function in the world, even one as it exists in Chairman of the Board. Why anyone would trust him with anything is mind boggling. Instead of being eccentric and charming, Edison is just kind of an idiot and annoying.
Edison’s friends/roommates, particularly the very cliched surfer bro, are also kind of unlikable. Edison can’t contribute to the rent? Hey no worries let’s just surf. Edison spends their rent money on stupid inventions? Hey no worries let’s just surf. Edison gets them evicted so they are literally homeless? Hey no worries let’s just surf. I get that they’re best of friends, but who am I supposed to root for here? Just give me one character to ground the movie.
Bravo to Courtney Thorne-Smith, who went from kissing attractive people on Melrose Place to kissing Carrot Top. She plays a character who feels like the one rational person in this world, but then falls for Edison for basically no reason. There is a brief moment when they go on a date together that actually feels kind of real. It’s like a breath of fresh air that comes out of nowhere. Unfortunately it quickly passes and we’re back to the series of bits that is this movie. Larry Miller predictably, but reliably, plays the movie’s villain and overall asshole who is trying to stop Carrot Top and take the company/money for himself. Towards the beginning of the movie it is established that Miller’s character loves his car. Which, of course, is just an eye-rolling set-up for Edison to mess it up. Like I said, this movie is just a series of bits.
There isn’t much more to say about Chairman of the Board. It’s bad. Not completely un-fun, but very close to it. Slapstick-y or pun-y comedies with thin plots get away with it because their casts are fun to watch. This is not the case here.
But Can I Drink To It?
Like The Adventures of Pluto Nash, this movie is dull and not much fun. Watch this in a group with plenty of alcohol.
Rules (to get you hammered)
1. Instance of physical comedy/slapstick – DRINK for 3 seconds!
2. Something happens to Bradford’s car – DRINK for 5 seconds!
3. Someone says “dingle-berry” (it happens more than once) – finish your DRINK!
4. Natalie burps - DRINK as long as it happens!
I watched Chairman of the Board on Amazon Instant for $3. There is a DVD you can buy for $10. No blu ray sadly…
Post by: Tyler P.
Tyler Phillippi is a former improviser and musician. Now, he mainly focuses on getting through his Netflix queue. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org