"King of California"
Directed by Mike Cahill.
Written by Mike Cahill.
Starring Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood.
Release Year: ?
Review Date: 1/30/07
Michael Douglas as a crazy old guy?
Evan Rachel Wood in a role where she is NOT sexed up or turning
tricks? A first-time writer/director? For some reason,
"King of California" mostly works and turns into a
surprisingly-engaging father/daughter comedy, produced by the man
that brought us
When the film opens, we watch as 16-year-old
Miranda (Wood, from
"Thirteen") is working a double shift at her hometown McDonald's
to make ends meet, because her mom has left and her dad is in the
loony bin. When her dad Charlie (Douglas) is released, Miranda
must adjust to a new life where her dad has not been a part of her
life for months and the two have to co-exist while he continues to
sit at home pondering his future. One day, she comes home to
discover that Charlie has laid out materials to follow his newest
scheme--while in the mental ward, Charlie learned about a possible
pot of treasure located somewhere in the greater Santa Clarita
area...and, he is going to move heaven and earth to try and find it
himself. Concerned but similarly intrigued by her father's
newest ambition, Miranda decides to come along for the ride whenever
she is not working at the Golden Arches...and, this newest search
nearly bankrupts the family as Charlie follows his dream. But,
will it ultimately destroy the new bond between the two?
Douglas is fantastic; in a career long known
as one where he can ably play the rich, the powerful, the
professional, the gigantic, it's nice to see Douglas play against
type for a whole film. He just looks completely energized as a
crazy man who will try to dig a hole in the local Costco to try and
find buried treasure; Douglas is admittedly one of my faves but he's
better here because he's just different, and it works. Wood
shows the promise she brought in "Thirteen"; as the foil for
Charlie, her Miranda has a light touch and has the right kind of
reactive energy to play well off of her co-star. First-time
novelist-turned-director Mike Cahill has a great script which mixes
the laughs with the caper quite well, although certainly, it has a
fair amount of fluff which populates its second half. Still,
"King of California" is a nice ride and should find some success
whenever it reaches theaters.
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard