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King's Ransom

An obnoxious rich guy cooks up a kidnapping scheme to save money but ends up getting kidnapped for real? Now that's comedy! King's Ransom is really scraping at the bottom of the barrel. I wanted to leave after the first 10 minutes but stuck it out--and kicked myself for it afterwards.


Let's see, there's successful and wealthy businessman Malcolm King (Anthony Anderson), who's pretty much an a**hole all the time. There's the vindictive soon-to-be ex-wife (Kallita Smith), who wants to rake him over the coals. There's the overworked, underappreciated employee (Nicole Parker), who gets passed over for a promotion. There's the really, really dumb mistress (Regina Hall), who doesn't do much but jiggle--and get promotions. There's the dimwitted local bumpkin (Jay Mohr), who simply needs money, and any amount will do. This crazy bunch all decide, at the exact same moment, to kidnap King, including the man himself, who concocts his plan to get out of paying his wife millions in a divorce settlement. And when it all goes haywire, King ends up getting a taste of his own medicine. Are you laughing yet? I thought so.


Why, WHY would anyone in their right mind sign up to do this movie? And there's a lot of comedic talent in it, too, just piddled away. Anthony Anderson is, of course, at the top of the list. He's turned in hilarious supporting performances in Cradle 2 the Grave and Barbershop, and even in stinkers like Kangaroo Jack. But he chooses King's Ransom as his first leading role, and that's a real shame. Maybe, like his character, Anderson will learn a valuable lesson from this. But the biggest disappointment is Jay Mohr, who seems to be a glutton for punishment these days. The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Are We There Yet?, and now this? He needs to sit down and remember how it once was--Jerry Maguire, anyone?--and how funny he can be.


Sure, I can appreciate a wacky farce when it's done well. A group of people with a mission to get back at an insufferable idiot, a case of mistaken identity, mix-ups and switcheroos, girls with big breasts, ex-cons, a farting old hag--yes, if put together properly, it can be funny. But under the guidance of newbie director Jeff Byrd, King's Ransom fails miserably. Here's a highlight: Mohr's put-upon character beats the crap out of a giant walking hamburger in a fit of inspired rage. Stop it! My sides are hurting.

Bottom Line

Needless to say, as a cringe-worthy and excruciatingly awful comedy, you shouldn't pay a dime of King's Ransom.