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JA1 Presents: King of California (2007) 
9th-Sep-2008 12:07 pm
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Starring Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood, et al
Rated PG-13, 93 minutes


16-year-old Miranda (Wood) has had to do things on her own for quite a while. Her father was committed, and a web of lies kept her by herself in the family home, working at McDonald's to make ends meet. When her dad Charlie (Douglas) was finally let go from the asylum, he raved about some lost gold left around California. Miranda gets dragged into the adventure, digging up backyards and golf courses, looking for pottery shards and dubloons. Eventually, it takes help from an old friend and infiltration of a major American business institution to claim the big hit.

This movie has a lot of charm. The two lead performances have a lot of heart, and the attitude was great. Admittedly, the movie took some time to get under my skin. They tried so hard in the first twenty minutes or so, but couldn’t grab me. It wasn’t long after that I invested in these warm characters, and found myself all smiles. In the last film I reviewed, “Wag the Dog,” Dustin Hoffman was unwavering in the face of certain trouble. Michael Douglas’ character is the same way here, and it’s a good comic device.

The movie leaves you wondering if Charlie is really crazy, or the world just doesn’t understand him. In the end, Charlie’s battle is with the time that passed him by while he was committed. The rampant product placement is intended to be an ironic comment on this – something I didn’t comprehend ‘til the film was over. So much for that college education.

***½

Ninety minutes I didn’t regret spending – the ol’ three-point-five special. The soundtrack was fun. The montage of Charlie relating to Miranda how the Spanish gold came to be is also a highlight.
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