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Movie Review

King’s Ransom

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for crude and sexual humor and language

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Comedy and Crime/Gangster
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
Featuring: Anthony Anderson, Leila Arcieri, Jay Mohr, Donald Faison, Regina Hall
Director: Jeff Byrd
Producer: Darryl Taja, Jeffrey W. Byrd
Distributor: New Line Cinema
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There plan was simple… and so were they.

Malcolm King (Anthony Anderson from “Scary Movie 3” and “Cradle 2 The Grave” fame) is a self-made Chicago millionaire and hasn’t too many real friends at the top. Even his wife, Ranee (Kellita Smith who’s credits include “Kingdom Come”) is happily divorcing him and wants half of the King Enterprise assets for putting up with him for so long.

Mr. King has chosen to surround himself with “goffers” and airheads, enjoying the classy benefits of his success, like flashy cars and the best tables at posh clubs, rather than taking care of business. He loves the limelight and the status, ignoring the details and the wife.

If it weren’t for his assistant Miss Gladys (Loretta Devine coming off the acclaim of “Woman Thou Art Loosed”) who takes care of everything he does while keeping his reins pulled tight and Angela Drake (Nicole Ari Parker whom you may remember from “Brown Sugar”) who aspires to be the next vice president in charge of marketing, King Enterprises would surely run itself into bankruptcy.

Knowing his wife wants most of his fortune in the divorce settlement and that everyone else wants a piece of the financial action, Malcolm King devises a fool proof plan to have himself kidnapped and then when the fake ransom is paid, he’ll be rid of his obligations and his money-hungry wife. Then he plans to sell the company off to world-famous multi-millionaire Andrew Ross for a cool 25-million; then he’ll be free and sitting on top of the world.

The sub-plot consists of a down-on-his-luck guy named Corey (comedian Jay Mohr) who needs to come up with some big cash quickly. He sees Mr. King as just the right hit to kidnap. Corey figures, after the ransom is paid he gives Mr. King back, and he walks away from the job, nobody gets hurt, everyone wins… maybe.

Then there’s Peaches (Regina Hall, also from “Scary Movie 3” and soon to be released “The Honeymooners”) who is the equivalent to a modern day Marilyn Monroe, who loves her big daddy Malcolm—and whom all the guys love to watch jiggle through the office building.

Malcolm announces Peaches has been named the next vice president in charge of marketing, which completely sets Angela Drake off. She quits and decides she’s gonna kidnap Malcolm King and teach him a thing or two about running a business and ruining people’s lives.

Through a comedic turn of events, everyone who has decided to kidnap Mr. King shows up at the 10th Anniversary Bash for King Enterprises, and it is from this point the movie really takes off, twisting and turning through mistaken identities and mindless comedy, until winding up at the end in a heap of non-creative nonsense. The ride is bumpy, laden with immature pranks, potty-mouthed jokes and scenes that could have been hilarious, but do not quite make it. Coming from a group of competent performers, it seems a shame they have been wasted on this mess of sophomoric humor. (Did you know Regina Hall has a Master’s in Journalism?)

I am still confused over the PG-13 ratings. What is too much crude humor and sexual situations for 13 years olds these days anyway? “Kings Ransom” contains profanities that are unnecessary to propel the comedic premise, such as 5 “bi*ch,” 5 “jack a**,” 4 “a**,” 2 “he**,” 2 “da*n,” and one F-word (thrown in because they thought it would be funny if a wrinkled old woman uttered it, but as we all know, that one is a grossly over used caricature). Although the jackass jokes are pertinent to the plot line, these jokes are overused as well.

Then consider the numerous references to women’s private parts, butts, “virgin” and “ball” jokes, and you just about sum up the language choices made by the writers as “funny” stuff (?).

There are characters having pre-marital and adulterous relationships. Although only referred to or happening off-camera, these are negative examples for anyone younger than 16 who may not understand the difference between real-life morals and fantasy or comedic reference in film.

There is one girl character who is considered an airhead (not too smart), who finds The Lord. I found this most offensive to my reverence for God and being found by Him (or visa versa). Why should a character be considered an idiot for being Christian these days? (I guess it is just plain un-cool to be saved.) A friend comments, “Ever since you’ve been saved, you’ve been doing a little extra with the God stuff.” The “saved” character asks during a very unchristian point in the film, “What in God’s name is going on here?” and another exclamation of “we’re going to hell!”. Obviously these lines are meant to make the character look foolish. So does that mean Christians who know what’s going on is morally wrong at these times in “Kings Ransom,” foolish also?

There are some redeeming points to consider, although that does not mean parents should pat their kids on the head and send them out to buy tickets: The saved character does state “The Lord will protect us,” at a sticky moment and she does plead with her friends to “Have a little faith,” when the going gets tough. Corey learns to take charge of his life and not let people take advantage of him. Corey helps Malcolm and his wife to reconciliation and forgiveness. The Angela character confesses her wrong intentions to her boss Mr. King and asks for forgiveness.

I can assure you that Spike Lee will not be staying up nights worrying about Jeff Byrd out-directing him.

To be honest—save your money. Stay home and watch “Family Matters” re-runs; most people would probably get a better kick out of Steve Urkel than sitting in the theater wishing they hadn’t spent their overtime on this one.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/nudity: Moderate

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