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Film / Chairman of the Board

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After establishing himself in The '90s as America's premier prop comic, Scott Thompson — better known as Carrot Top — made the jump to feature films with this 1998 comedy directed by Alex Zamm.

Carrot Top stars as Edison, a failed inventor and surfer dude who lives with his two surfer buddies, Ty & Zak, in southern California, constantly convinced he's invented "the pet rock of the 90s." No company ever invests in anything he comes up with, and he's stuck wandering from one dead-end job to the next, constantly facing the wrath of his landlord, Ms. Krubavitch (Seinfeld's Estelle Harris) One day, he comes across an old man who's having car trouble, helps him with the repairs, and goes surfing with him.

That old man was Armand Macmillan (Jack Warden), who is so inspired by Edison's penchant for inventing that, some time later, after his death, it is revealed that he left Edison his invention corporation, Macmillan Industries, in his will. Armand's nephew, Bradford (Larry Miller, in full Smug Snake mode) is left Armand's "most prized possession," his surfboard. This boxes his plans to inherit, and then sell, the company for millions of dollars, and he concocts a scheme to hustle the company out of Edison's hands. Meanwhile, Natalie Stockwell (Courtney Thorne-Smith), the Vice President and overseer of production, finds herself frustrated, yet oddly charmed by this new quirky chairman.

Tropes associated with Chairman of the Board include:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Meta-example. Carrot Top accidentally calls Courtney Thorne-Smith by her real name during a scene in a museum.
  • Actually, I Am Him: The board at Macmillan treats him as an errand boy until they nearly shit their pants realizing he's the Edison that inherited the company.
  • Adam Westing: Edison is basically Carrot Top being as Carrot Top as possible.
  • Artistic License – Law: The Nostalgia Critic pointed out that Armand's will wouldn't hold up because he doesn't specify Edison's last name.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Glow Gunk. For night surfing! And for framing Edison, but also for evidence he can clear his name with.
    • The "bullshirt," a lie-detecting dress shirt.
    • Edison’s car security system rather predictably proves instrumental in catching the bad guy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Edison is more on the Keet end of this scale.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Heaping helpings of this throughout, often toward Bradford.
  • Cool Old Guy: Armand. "You surf?!"
  • Crash-Into Hello: How Edison meets Natalie, while covered in post-its. Oh yes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Larry Miller easily has some of the best lines in the movie.
  • Easily Forgiven: Edison responds to an impending strike (after foolish budget cuts on his part) by giving employees a stake in the company and starting "Luau Wednesday." Not only does that easily satisfy everyone, he gets featured on the cover of Forbes as a result.
  • Evil Is Petty: Bradford is a major Jerkass and he takes any opportunity to live up to that standard.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The "Eureka!" Moment near the climax when Edison realizes Bradford used Edison's own invention, the Glow Gunk, to frame him for a faulty product, thanks to a man hired by Bradford to claim Edison's product gave him radiation poisoning. That's right - he couldn't recognize his own creation. To be fair, he had to check his idea book to confirm his suspicions, and discovers the formula for it was in fact torn out.
    • For that matter, how come no one ran tests on the man on TV to verify his claim? Edison even points out in the climax that if the product actually had that much radiation, it would have done far worse to him.
  • False Friend: Bradford confirms this right to Edison's face after Edison is removed as chairman.
  • From Bad to Worse: On the day Bradford finally usurps Edison as the chairman, Edison returns home to find himself evicted.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Edison. This facet is more or less an excuse for more prop comedy.
  • Genre Savvy: In the climax, Edison tells the board how the radiation poisoning had to be staged by Bradford by stealing his Glow Gunk because he's smart enough to know that exposure to those amounts of radiation wouldn't cause someone to glow, but make them "a charcoal briquette".
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Carrot Top later admitted in interviews that he wanted the movie to be a lot more "blue" but the producers insisted he keep it clean. However, the trope still wound up averted as various other profanities slip through from the older cast members - one member of the board tells Bradford to "jerk me off and meet me at the moon!"
  • Groin Attack:
    • Bradford gets nailed in the nuts by a tennis ball launcher, then while he’s bent over double another ball hits him in the head.
    • Edison’s “car alarm” turns out to shove the foot pedal into a would-be thief’s crotch.
  • A Hero Is Born: The movie starts with Edison's birth, where he's somehow working on inventions while still inside his mother.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That
    Bradford: Now get out. You're fired.
    Larry: Aren't we all laid off anyway?
    Bradford: Yes! I just love saying it. GET OUT! YOU'RE FIRED! [chuckles]
  • Impact Silhouette: When born, Edison blasted out of his mother and left one of these in a door.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: To go with Edison's even tackier house, of course.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Edison strikes this up with Armand, after which he passes away and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Jerkass Ball: When massive success goes to Edison's head, giving him Acquired Situational Narcissism. This is probably the reason for Failed a Spot Check above.
  • Large Ham: To his credit, Carrot Top really goes for broke in this movie, but to many critics it came off overbearing.
    • Not helped by the wide-angle close-ups in constant use throughout the movie. Surely Ernest would be proud.
  • Majority-Share Dictator: Bradford overrides every other board member to sell the company once he has 51% of the shares.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Bradford; wealth seems to be his primary motivator in life.
  • Meaningful Name: Edison. You know, like that other inventor guy.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Edison shows up in the board room for the first time only to get coffee orders from everyone at the table.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The tennis instructor, played by 90s it-girl Cindy Margolis.
  • No Indoor Voice: Edison shouts every other sentence in a high-pitched squawk.
  • Noodle Incident
    Zak: What'd you really have to do to Armand to get this place?
    Edison: Nothing like what you did to Ms. Krubavich last summer to cover the rent.
    Zak: Hey, how'd you know about that? I dreamt that happened!
    Ty: That's right, man. God bless ya, you took one for the home team on that one.
    Zak: For sure! [Beat] I think I'm gonna be sick.
  • Prenatal Possessions: While in the womb, Edison performs an experiment using chemicals in test tubes, causing an explosion which blasts him out of his mother.
  • Running Gag: Bradford's car getting dinged and Edison "repairing" it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Edison gets a particularly bitter one from the head of "Gadget City," who says in no uncertain terms that his inventions "suck." Edison responds with "OKAY, ONE MORE AND I PROMISE I'LL GO!"
  • Smug Snake: Bradford.
  • Surfer Dude: Edison and his roommates. Zak in particular is a Pauly Shore Expy, big time.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Bradford has this view of everyone at Macmillan Industries... well, really, most everyone he meets.
  • Take That!: Edison buys his housemates a box full of copies of John Tesh' Greatest Hits, which they promptly use for skeet shooting.
  • Totally Radical: This thing is like the afterbirth of 90s bro comedy.
  • Wacky Will: Armand changed his will practically at the last minute to give all his shares to Edison, unless the share price drops below $20, at which point the shares transfer to his nephew Bradford. Resulting in Bradford scheming to tank the share price and make it look like Edison was responsible.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Did Edison and his buddies ever find a new home? They should at least be able to afford one after getting the company back.