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King's Ransom
2005 - PG-13 - 95 Mins.
Director: Jeff Byrd
Producer: Darryl Taja
Written By: Wayne Conley
Starring: Anthony Anderson, Regina Hall, Jay Mohr, Charlie Murphy, Loretta Devine
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.kingsransommovie.com
   

Kooky
A multi-millionaire (Anthony Anderson) plots to have himself kidnapped in order to avoid paying a divorce settlement but mishaps ensue when his dumb-as-nails mistress hires an equally inept kidnapper in this dark comedy in the vein of 'Ruthless People.' Jeff Byrd directs from Wayne Conley's screenplay.

'King's Ransom' is likely a film you have heard next to nothing about. Usually, this is the death knell for most any film because it shows a distinct lack of confidence on the part of the distributor (in this case, New Line Cinema). The distributor often decides to cut its losses by not throwing much if any funds into advertising, etc. Oddly enough though, 'King's Ransom' isn't half bad for being a film one must see with low expectations in the first place.

To begin with, let's get the negative aspects of the film out of the way. The film is most definitely a low-brow comedy through and through. As a result, there are a few instances where the humor is groan-inducing bad. When a joke bombs in this film, the resulting thud can be heard throughout the theater as patrons try and muster up something amounting to a nervous chuckle. The performance of one Donald Faison ("Scrubs" television series) as a car parking lot attendant is obnoxiously over the top; Faison fails to distinguish between goofy likeability and grating mugging and thus quickly gets on one's nerves rather succinctly.

The film contains more positives than negatives. When it resists the temptation to go the exceedingly low-brow route, the comedy is rather clever, playing on stereotypes in a clever and non-offensive way along with generating some bits that are just clever because of the conceit behind them, such as an excessively detailed flipbook of the plan concocted by Anthony Anderson's persona. Director Byrd also smartly ensures that the film moves at a quick clip, getting from scene with gleefully rapid aplomb.

In his first lead role ever after playing second fiddle in countless films ranging from 'Barbershop' to 'Kangaroo Jack', pudgy Anthony Anderson is in his element as the conniving but none too bright millionaire. Lending support as his even denser mistress is Regina Hall, giving a playful turn. The likes of Charlie Murphy (Eddie's older brother), Loretta Devine, and Jay Mohr ('Are We There Yet?') each bring their own brand of off-color humor to the film and it is better for it as they each have moments that are downright hilarious.

'King's Ransom' has somehow beaten all odds and ends up as a decent entry into the crime comedy/dark comedy sub-genre, well worth your time if you have been known to take a liking to the inherently quirky nature of such cinematic creations.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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