King of California (2007)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  12 September 2007 (France)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 19,431 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 66 user | 87 critic | 22 from

An unstable dad who after getting out of a mental institution tries to convince his daughter that there's Spanish gold buried somewhere under suburbia.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Applebee's Manager (as Anne Nathan)
McDonald's Manager
McDonald's Customer
Ian Hopps ...
Security Guard
Annie O'Donnell ...


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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You've got to believe in treasure to find it. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, mature thematic elements and brief drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

12 September 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

El rey de California  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$35,814 (USA) (14 September 2007)


$263,674 (USA) (26 October 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The screenplay written by Michael Cahill was entered into the 2004 American Zoetrope Screenwriting contest and though didn't win, was a finalist. See more »


Young Miranda is left handed while older Miranda is right handed. See more »


Charlie: In questions of science, the analysis of 1000 is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual! Galileo.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Carroll Kales Cahill 1925-2006 See more »


References Der Kaiser von Kalifornien (1936) See more »


California Stars
Written by Woody Guthrie, Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett
Performed by Billy Bragg and Wilco
Published by Woody Guthrie Publications (ASCAP), Titanic Majesties Music (ASCAP)
administered by Bug, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing , o/b/o itself
Ver Music and Words Ampersand Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film and TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

A very slow moving movie featuring superb acting from Douglas.
21 January 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"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.

33 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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