A fresh-out-of-the-mental institution father and his emancipated teenage daughter venture together on a quest for an ancient Spanish treasure buried beneath their local Costco in this take on the modern family and the American dream. Written by
Let's Pretend There's A Moon
Written by Russ Columbo, Jack Stern and Grace Hamilton
Performed by Fats Waller and His Rhythm
Used by permission of Colgems-EMI Music Inc.(ASCAP), WB Music Corp (ASCAP), Winton House Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Bluebird / Novus / RCA Victor
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment See more »
A very slow moving movie featuring superb acting from Douglas.
"King Of California" is the art house version of "National Treasure" or "Indiana Jones". It's the story of Charlie (Michael Douglas) who is released from the mental institution in which he has spent several years and is reunited with his sixteen year old daughter Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood). Although he is obviously a few sandwiches short of a picnic, Charlie manages to convince his daughter to join him in a quest for buried treasure. Together they move through Southern California looking for clues leading to the lost doubloons.
If, after reading that description of the plot, you're now expecting these two characters to run through dark tunnels with giant boulders rolling after them then you'd be wrong. "King Of California" is a slow and very quiet movie which focuses more on Charlie and Miranda repairing their relationship than the actual treasure hunt. Miranda has been forced to take a job at McDonalds in order to survive during her father's absence meaning that she is now the rational one whilst Charlie acts as a child. Their search for the treasure takes them to golf courses and busy stores where Charlie sees signs that they're on the right trail whilst Miranda, not fully believing in Charlie's dream, simply wants to spend some time with the father she's lost touch with.
Douglas gives one of his finest performances in recent years as Charlie, managing to make the character seem insane whilst also being totally appealing (witness the way in which he wins arguments by stating absurd facts and telling people to "look it up"). Evan Rachel Wood is also perfect in her role. It may not be as showy a role as Douglas' but Wood convinces you that Miranda absolutely loves her father despite all his faults (and he certainly has a lot).
Although I liked "King Of California", I really can't say that I loved it - the plot was perhaps a little too slow moving for my tastes. I certainly admired its message, however, that you should follow your dreams because dreams give you something to believe in. If you have patience and like character-driven movies which reveal their charms at a very leisurely pace (such as the movies "Sideways" or "Rushmore"), then I'd recommend watching "King Of California" for its superb acting and life-affirming message. Others - like myself - however, who prefer story lines to move along at a much quicker rate may find it a bit boring in places and slightly too whimsical overall.
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