I was once reading a book about the backstage goings-on of Saturday Night Live and I came across the story of how Damon Wayans was fired from the show for deliberately sabotaging a sketch by creating an off-the-wall character that did not exist until he decided to invent it during the live show. I kept thinking about that while watching Eye of the Dolphin, a Tribeca kiddie film about a teenage girl who lives with her grandma, gets in trouble in school, and is packed off to live with her marine biologist father in the Bahamas. The father is played by Irish actor Adrian Dunbar, and I'd be willing to watch an entire documentary on the making of this film just to know what he was thinking -- his performance borders on sabotage, it's so off-the-mark. To start with, the character is supposed to be an American, but there are passages in the film when he speaks with a completely transparent Irish brogue. He also maintains an insanely out-of-place perma-scowl, so that during many scenes that are supposed to be upbeat, he appears inexplicably pissed off.
I can't recommend Dolphin to general audiences, since it's a terrible film, but I would probably recommend it to my friends for comedy purposes. Aside from Dunbar's crazy performance, the film itself is a treasure trove of enough absurd moments to push it firmly into the 'bad-good' zone. It feels exactly like some film student's fourth year film, which they intended to be a professional-looking, passing-grade romantic comedy/kiddie adventure, but which is, in fact, painfully inadequate in ways they haven't even anticipated. The young woman the film centers around, Alyssa, is played by Carly Schroeder, who has some acting experience in the kid's show Lizzie McGuire and the movie the show was based off of. I wouldn't say she gives a bad performance in this film, but the whole picture is so absurd and unfocused itself that there's no way to tell either way. We're talking about a movie where an angry, rebellious teen moves to the Bahamas and discovers that she has talent as a Dolphin Whisperer.