Film ó Kingís Ransom (PG-13)

Kingís Ransom (PG-13)

by Amy Diaz

Everybody wants a rich Chicago manís money and to teach him a little humility in the shockingly unfunny Kingís Ransom.

No, really, shockingly unfunny. Youíll have to wash the popcorn crumbs off your chin after it drops to the floor in stupefaction at the awfulness of the movie. This rough-remake of Ruthless People is embarrassingly bad. And while its utter failure as a movie is justified, itís nonetheless painful to sit through.

Malcolm King (Anthony Anderson) is fat, wealthy and deeply satisfied with himself. Heís even doing well at love ó trading in his wife (Kellita Smith) for a dumber-than-paint mistress named Peaches (Regina Hall). But the divorce, he fears, could cost him dearly. So, to hide some of his money from his wife, he is struck with an idea: have himself kidnapped and ransom himself for the bulk of his estate. Unfortunately for King, this same epiphany strikes a variety of the people in his life at the same time. His wife wants to squirrel away some money for herself in case her infidelity causes her to lose out in the divorce. A bitter employee (Nicole Parker) wants to get money and teach King a lesson after he gives her promotion to Peaches. And then thereís the dullwitted loser played by Jay Mohr. He also decides to kidnap King for reasons too moronic to attempt to unravel. Eventually, of course, King ends up in the hands of Mohrís character but still believes he is the kidnapper King himself hired.

Itís a small miracle and a testament to Mohrís comic abilities that despite the horrific plot and dialog he is still able to pull off maybe one or two laugh-out-loud moments. And, indeed, the mere recognition that something in the movie had made me laugh was itself shocking. Kingís Ransom is as humorless and ugly as a bad insult-comic. Think of every horrible racist joke, every loathsome comedy clichť, every stupid movie blunder and the sum of these crimes will give you some idea as to the form of Kingís Ransom. The movie is mean to its characters and meaner still to the audience.

- Amy Diaz

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