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Too silly to be serious,too wistful to be dismissed
S.R. Dipaling1 April 2008
Fifteen-year old Miranda(Evan Rachel Wood,luminescent!!) has had to grow up fast,since her mother left her and her father and said father,Charlie(Michael Douglass,in a word:WOW!) was institutionalized for reasons not entirely made clear but discernible through observation. When Charlie is de-institutionalized,he returns to his daughter with a grand plan to find gold in the hills along the Pacific Coast Highway. She is,in a word,skeptical.

Director and writer Mike Cahill makes a movie that is both at once full of quirk and melancholy,with the daughter as somewhat of a de facto narrator. The quest for finding the treasure,while ridiculous and unquestionably irresponsible,is still almost noble and pure. Wood and Douglass shine very nicely as the estranged,mentally delicate father and daughter duo who haven't stopped loving each other,even if they get each other even less than they did before. A simple story,framed by quirky music(jazz?folk?) and a nearly poetic filming of contemporary California coastline as it contrasts the 16th century maps that Charlie references. Lost in the sea of fall releases from last year,this film is a very pleasant find on the rental shelves.
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7/10
Wacky but sweet comedy with a delightful Michael Douglas.
Panterken7 January 2008
King Of California is best described as a wacky but sweet comedy. Michael Douglas is really delightful and that's reason enough to check out this film. He plays one of the most likable characters I've seen in a long time. The plot is so 'out there' I don't even know how to write a plot summary without making it sound like a silly kids movie. When in fact, it's a mature movie, dealing with real issues without ever getting preachy.

Some people have posted threads here on IMDb asking: Is this a comedy? Well, I'm not saying it's a typical American in your face comedy but it sure is funny to me.

Some complaints: Evan Rachel Wood is not really that great of an actress (yet). Of course she's talented but I mean...she was talented four years ago. Now I'm like...when is she finally gonna deliver. To be fair, I haven't seen all of her movies so maybe I should check out some other ones before spewing criticism.

Also, King Of California is one of those movies that left me feeling indifferent. That's not a flaw, it's just the kind of movie KOC is. I like movies that confront me or get me thinking.

I wouldn't recommend it to most of my friends, since I predict about half the people are really gonna like it, and half are gonna find it boring. I would recommend it to more mature people, who like independent films.

6.7/10
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9/10
Sweet and Funny
Brent Trafton5 March 2008
I absolutely loved "King of California." It is sweet and really funny. The characters are flawed, but lovable.

There are basically two characters in the film. Michael Douglas plays Charlie who has just spent 2 years in a mental institution. Apparently the entire time he was there he was in the library researching lost buried treasure from the Spanish missionaries that was left in Ventura, California.

Evan Rachel Wood plays his 16-year-old daughter, Miranda, who had to drop out of school so she could work double shifts at McDonalds to support herself and pay the mortgage to avoid losing the house. She is world weary and bitter at never having a proper childhood and having to be the adult in the relationship.

Eventually Charlie convinces her of the validity of the buried treasure and there is a bonding as they search for the lost treasure that leads them to the depths of a local Costco warehouse.

The performances are great. Michael Douglas is all bug-eyed and crazy. Evan Rachel Wood adds to her "indie cred." Along with "Pretty Persuasion" and "Down in the Valley," she could be the next Parker Posey.

This is one of the best films of 2007. Make sure not to miss it.
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9/10
Michael Douglas Plays Whacky-Zanny and This Movie is a Whole Lot of Good
sundevil2729 January 2007
After seeing the trailer for this movie and checking out the cast and filmmakers I made this a must see at this years Sundance Film Festival. The combination of Alexander Payne (Sideways,Election,About Schmidt) producing and Michael Douglas playing wacky gives hope for another great dramedy along the lines of Little Miss Sunsine and Sideways. King of California easily meets those hopes and for many it will be much more enjoyable then those former films. The movie features Douglas as Charlie a recently released mental patient with a whimsical fascination for buried Spanish treasure. While Charlie has been away his 16 year old daughter Miranda played by Evan Racheal Wood has managed to avoid child services, dropped out of school and support herself and their home by working full-time at Mcdonalds. Upon Charlies arrival home Miranda finds that life was much easier without Charlie around, not only does she have to support their home but now she has to take care of her unstable father. Persitent with his intent to search for a mythical buried Spanish treasure Miranda begrudgingly agrees to help him. The movie finds its humor and warmth in the moments shared between Charlie and Miranda during their treasure hunting through developed suburbia that leads them to a unlikely final destination. In the end the real treasure may not be the gold after all but the love between a daughter and father.

The ever developing Evan Racheal Wood is solid in the role of Miranda, the whole movie develops through her narration and her acting is effortlessly touching. Michael Douglas is outstanding and in true form here, from start to finish he's a joy to watch, this is easily his best performance since Wonder Boys. This will definitely be one of the best movies in 2007, expect praise a plenty for Douglas come awards time.
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9/10
A nice little movie where all the things that could have been done wrong weren't...
kvinneslandr9 November 2007
It was too easy to expect a rug-chewing performance from Michael Douglas as a crazy person, and an exasperated, eye-rolling two-dimensional "oh I'm so put-upon by the world" job from Evan Rachel Wood.

Thankfully, those clichés were avoided in this poignant and ultimately joyful and uplifting (thank God!) story of quiet nobility, personal vision and purpose, and underlying love and strength amongst otherwise "broken" people.

It's refreshing to go into a theatre not expecting much and coming out enlightened by the combined vision of the actors, writer, director, and cinematographer.

Bravo to all involved, and here's hoping to see a strong presence at the Academy Awards.
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7/10
Golden Performances
C G30 March 2008
The King of Calinfornia features excellent performances and character development from Michale Douglass and Evan Rachel Wood. Douglass' character is especially weird and wacky, but respectable. The film is very slow moving, but enjoyable. The film is definitely not as it appears to be about the extrinsic treasure hunt. Rather is more of an intrinsic hunt for the relationship and love between a misguided father, and his prematurely grown-up daughter.

The film has a great balance of drama and humor, with just a touch of adventurous excitement. Other posts have similar offerings regarding the quality and depth of this film.
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8/10
A Tired Script but a Platform for the Skillful Acting of Douglas and Wood
gradyharp1 February 2008
KING OF California may not break any records for innovation of thought or script but it is a tightly made little film that allows veteran actor Michael Douglas a lollipop of a wacky role to remind us that he does have comedic talent! It also gives 20-year old Evan Rachel Wood the opportunity to compete with a Pro and come out an equal - quite a feat for such a young actress. Written and directed by Mike Cahill the story does have appeal, especially since it is set in Santa Clarita, California, a rapidly developing 'hinterland' that is suffering from the effects of too rapid industrialization, changing from a picturesque remnant of California raw beauty into yet another perky little town.

Charlie (Michael Douglas) has been in and out of mental institutions for his wacky behavior. His life as a jazz bassist and entrepreneur has always veered off the map, leaving him alone with his only daughter Miranda who has survived her father's irresponsible life by keeping the old family home (in the midst of a huge housing development) with the money she makes double shifting at the local MacDonalds. When Charlie is released his focus is on discovering the gold left behind by Catholic priests in the mid 1600s, a fact he has researched while hospitalized, on the Internet, and from the journal of one of the priests. Miranda slowly buys into Charlie's madcap scheme and adventure as a gold hunter and the caper results in a bonding between father and daughter that has been teetering on the brink of disaster for years. The manner in which Charlie, Miranda, and an old ex-con friend Pepper (Willis Burks II) go after the treasure provides most of the energy of the film.

Yes, there are bits and pieces of this project that have been done many times before (and often better), but the pleasure of KING OF California lies in the bravura and touching performances by Douglas and Wood. This is a pleasant excursion of a movie, worth an evening's gander. Grady Harp
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9/10
Top 100 All-Time
jmberkland24 August 2012
I've worked at blockbuster. I've worked a Hollywood video. I've seen thousands of movies.

This breaks the top 100 all time for me.

Apparently my review wasn't long enough.....hm.....

The acting was great, the main character was zany, the chemistry and relationship of the two (evan rachel wood and michael douglass) was sensational throughout, and the movie just felt.....i don't know....unconventional. Something new, something fresh, something that I hadn't been seen done before - not like this.

I wonder if Michael Douglass hit that......
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5/10
A very slow moving movie featuring superb acting from Douglas.
Mr Saxon21 January 2008
"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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Inspiring and heart warming
Gordon-115 December 2007
This film is about a recently released mental patient who is obsessed with finding hidden treasure mentioned by a 400 year old journal.

"King of California" is an interesting film. It starts off slow, but it the pace becomes increasingly quick along the way, and at the end the pace is too quick to grasp everything. I cannot not really understand the ending because so much happens within a short amount of time. I like Michael Douglas' portrayal as a psychotic person. He is not over the top, and yet looks and acts crazy enough. His character is likable and goofy. Evan Rachel Wood is also great in the film. This is a good piece of independent cinema. It is inspiring and heart warming I hope it gets more attention than it is having.
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8/10
Fine Performances In A Slightly Flawed Film
Seamus28297 October 2007
Make no mistake about it. Evan Rachael Wood is fast becoming a most welcome addition to the rising wave of young stars in films today. I totally admired her work in 'Thirteen' (2003),and 'Running With Scissors'(2006). In this one, she plays the daughter of a recently released mental patient (Michael Douglas,sporting an unkempt beard)who is obsessing over buried treasure somewhere in the suburbs of California. Michael Douglas makes his performance as Charles work nicely, acting like a loony that was released from the home a bit too early, in contrast to Wood's anchor that holds things together. The screenplay does contain a few potholes along the way, but not enough to make this worth avoiding.
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8/10
This movie is great but needs to be watched more that once spoilers
rlb195712 January 2010
I love this movie and tend to disagree with most people who describe Charlie as crazy. I think he is actually brilliant. Everything he says in this movie turns out to be true. He is constantly telling Miranda things and says if you don't believe me look it up. Charlie is a genius but most people don't believe him so they label him as crazy. I think the stuff he does in the movie prove his brilliance. Miranda is constantly skeptical about what her dad is saying. Then in the end he says something and then if you don't believe me look it up. But she says she doesn't need to because she realizes hes not crazy after all. I think this movie is also saying something about people who live by the beat of a different drummer like Charlie. They live their lives differently then most people. You don't necessarily have to work a 9-5 job to work. He says he isn't looking for the treasure for the money and she said something like you would if you had to work and his reply is that it depends on what you consider work. There are a lot of subtle things in this movie that you don't get unless you watch it and listen intently. You probably have to watch it more than once. There is a part near the end when Charlie says something about the passageway is suppose to be 40 bars(120ft) down. If there is a passageway it must lead to someplace where he was probably headed when he dove in the second time.
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8/10
McCheesy's take on "King of California"
mr_popcorn22 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Some people say that this film is Michael Douglas's best since Wall Street. I have not seen Wall Street so I can't give my say on the matter but I can assure you this: Michael Douglas gives a brilliant, touching performance as Charlie, an institutionalized dad obsessing over buried treasure in the California suburbs. I can boldly say that he's one of the best character actors around and the way he portrayed his character in the movie cannot be easily forgotten. I definitely think he deserved an Oscar on this one.

An outstanding performance by Mr. Douglas I tell you that. But he isn't the only one that made this movie. There's the young actress Evan Rachel Wood who also deserves some credits as the patient and caring daughter to his father, Charlie. The director also deserves some creds. He made an awesome film with the most perfect cast and a touching, yet heartbreaking ending. I suggest you go see it now.
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9/10
Shiny diamond of a movie
Ben de Graaf27 October 2007
One of those extremely rare movies that makes you wish you could personally thank everyone involved for creating it. By writing this I hope to achieve that. Thank you Mike Cahill, thank you Evan Rachel Wood and thank you Michael Douglas for this amazingly touching piece of art. This is arguably the best promotion of human free will I've seen on screen! Brilliant performances by the entire cast, from the wild Latina with her hazel colored eyes to the fat crowd at the 'barbecue'. I felt blessed to see this piece of pure gold in movie-making. Transcending everyday-life, every second of it. Pulling you out of your reality, and into this beautiful made-up world from writers, actors, camera-people, engineers, producers, editors, set dressers and animation drawing magicians, in studios, working with their black trolleys and heavy batteries, on locations, shutting down streets, with their lighting equipment and recording mixers. Without for a moment being distracted by the thought of them having faked it all for you, the viewer.

This little treasure throws you in a natural high, floats you over the big cloud of a dream come true, in which nothing else matters. Written as though it is one huge poem. Beginning and ending with naked Chinese guys. Funny in such an honest way. Subtle yet efficient. Easy yet action packed. And what a sweet soundtrack and score!

Also, to those claiming there are plot holes: Check again. I can give you ways out of every little one of your sad excuses of a bad imagination. They aren't there. No plot holes. None.

I'm rating this a 9 only because I wanted to see a different ending. Maybe it will be there as an extra on the HD-DVD. Sure hope so, I'll be buying it.
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6/10
How to approach "King of California"....
merklekranz24 February 2008
This is a film about the relationship between a father and his daughter. The daughter is extremely responsible, and more mature than dad. Dad is an irresponsible dreamer, and the role reversal is intriguing. Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood nicely compliment a very clever script. If you are the type of viewer who demands complete logic in everything that happens on the screen, you will not enjoy "King of California", because the story requires you to suspend disbelief. If you enjoy a treasure hunt, even one that is chasing smoke, then by all means see this film. It has a nice message,"you've got to believe in treasure to find it" - MERK
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10/10
One of the best movies of 2007
hveckovics26 March 2008
This is one of the best movies I saw recently. It has a bit of everything to make it an independent movie classic - goof ball characters, craziness and whole deal of introspection. What makes this movie different from many other independent films is a feel-good vibe which recently has been tough to find in American cinema and a quirky, interesting plot line. If there is anything bad I can say about the movie is that it felt too short. Fans of Little Miss Sunshine and Six feet under should be pleased with this little gem of a movie.

"King of California" actually deserves to be much more popular than it is now.
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8/10
Delightful, underrated film
Slavsrule5 September 2014
This is one of those underrated films which had a limited release, was not really promoted, and, in my opinion, was dismissed by some as a low-budget, shallow flop because they really did not get the writer's intent. Michael Douglas gives an excellent performance, and it is said that he immediately wanted to do the film after reading the script. Sure, it is a lighthearted, feel-good story, but I think a lot of people simply miss the dramatic undertones and the depth. Though not one of my favorite actresses, Evan Rachel Wood somehow manages to capture the character of an exasperated but loving daughter who has had to grow up and take responsibility too quickly because of her absentee parents. Her young life skipped over any fun years and immediately entered the survival mode in which many low-wage, adult workers live because of a lack of education or opportunity due to absentee parents or the socioeconomic situation of their family. Enter her mentally ill, quirky, father, who at first she sees as just another burden. Over time, she realizes he is a sincere idealist struggling desperately to make up for his past mistakes. Her love brings a reluctant willingness to humor him and join in his quixotic search, and ends with an eye-opening realization about her father, life, and the nature of idealism. If you decide to watch it, avoid all possible spoilers!
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10/10
Interesting movie
Victoria Cunningham9 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I must admit, this movie is far removed from my usual liking of zombies and serial killers. I do not understand why so many people do not like it. One has to ask, after losing her home, then her father, how and why did a 17 year old come up with the money to buy a dishwasher she so desperately wanted for a house she no longer has? Let us go back to a small scene in which her father had given her her own credit card in her name. Why would he do that you suppose? The methodology was simplistic and brilliant at the same time, and was most likely overlooked by many viewers. The heart wrenching scene at the near end of the father tying her to the soda machines and telling her how important she was and what she meant to him was beautiful. Then we see him cautiously running from rack to rack with a small plastic container, empty at first, then heavy and rattling on the way back. Then he dives back into the hole to go after the rest of the gold. This is where most people have trouble. First, the rushing water. Rushing water is moving water and therefore has to empty out somewhere. It just doesn't stop. After realizing he cannot go back the way he came he follows the flow of water and comes to a light ahead but it is too narrow and he cannot cross it with his tanks. He removes them and swims up. Remember the dream of the naked Chinese men? What does his daughter come across on the beach? What empties into the ocean? He lives. The director leaves the outcome up to interpretation, but I must believe that he lives given the small clues and the character's ability to see the outcome.
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6/10
"California Dreaming": Does it lead to that pot of gold???
screenwriter-1415 September 2007
With each film she makes, Evan Rachel Wood just becomes better and better as an Actor and in KING OF California her outstanding role in the film carries it forward with a remarkable performance from Michael Douglas in a character role that is beyond belief. Act one is a tad slow in developing the story, and it is Wood who makes you want to find out what may happen to her father, Douglas. The fight against growth in suburbia is amply shown on the screen of the "over development" in So Cal and the house amongst the track homes is really a brilliant sub story in itself. However, with watching Douglas pursue his wild dreams and what happens at the end of the film, "once and again", it is the marvelous acting of Wood which makes California a film worth watching.
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8/10
A very nice movie with a message to savor
BuunDawg6 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
King of California ("KOC") is one of those movies where if you don't pay attention, you might miss the punch-line.

Basically what is boils down to is this: The slight zaniness of Charlie (Michael Douglas) in his search for long lost treasure, is a metaphor for the long-standing allure California has had on hundreds of thousands (millions) of people over the years.

Like moths to a flame, the intangible allure which is the promise of a better life, has drawn legions of seekers to California over the years.

But the genius of KOC is that it waits to the ending scenes to confirm for us the viewers that Charlie's obsession is, by the standards of the allure of California, 100% correct, 100% valid and in his instance, it actually pays off for his beloved (and loving) daughter in the end.

Think carefully about the symbolism of the illegal immigrants emerging for the ocean in the movie's final scene and also about the scene in which Charlie last appears and you'll make the connection regarding the utter immersion which the allure of personal fulfillment compels people to. People want the dreams of their lives to be fulfilled and they will indeed throw caution to the wind seeking it.

The symbolism of the Costco (so much is there, it has everything) is also a metaphor for California itself.

I'll leave the rest to the viewers, but I'll just say that Evan Rachel Wood is very believable as a loving daughter and Willis Burks's ingenuity in the Costco scene is for me a modern version of the can-do pioneering spirit which carried people westward in the past.
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6/10
if you want to see Michael Douglas...
MLDinTN4 December 2009
play a crazy guy, then this is right up your alley. Douglas plays a recently released bi polar patient that goes to live with his 16 year old daughter. His daughter dropped out of school and says she's been working full time at McDonald's since he got sent away. Now that part is not believable because there are labor laws and a 15 year old could not just get around them.

Once he comes home, he has this crazy idea that there is buried treasure. So he goes on all these hunts using metal detectors, back hoes, the stars and his daughter goes along with it. She doesn't even try to tell him it's the delusions, she does his crazy schemes. Then she gets mad when he sells her car and takes out loans on the house he can't pay.

So the ending was pretty cool. They break into a Costco because he believes that is where the treasure is buried. And the daughter gets a sort of fairy tale ending.

FINAL VERDICT: OK, it was entertaining and a short movie. Worth watching on cable.
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10/10
A hilarious and heart-felt movie with a quirky twist
Evenflow72116 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I just got done watching this movie,and I thought it was really good. It stars Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood. They are both great in it. Michael Douglas plays a guy who has been in a mental institution for several years. When he finally gets out,he re-unites with his daughter(played by Wood),who has had to fend for herself the whole time he was gone,all the while enjoying a peaceful existence without her nutty father around. He tries to convince her that there is ancient Spanish treasure buried underneath a Costco store in the California town that they live in. At first,she just thinks he is crazy and doesn't believe him. Eventually, she ends up believing him and they both lay out a hilarious plan to break into Costco and dig a tunnel into the sewer line to get the treasure. They go through one mishap after another while devising their plan. The plot makes it sound like and Indiana Jones adventure-type of movie,but it's really not. It's more of a make you think...kind of artsy-type of movie with a comedic twist to it. If you haven't seen it yet,you should buy it or rent it. Michael Douglas plays an amazing crazy guy and Evan Rachel Wood is great as the daughter who is struggling to believe her dad and see through his insanity,all the while being taken on a hilarious and heart-moving journey,in this very quirky and imaginative movie. I give this one a 10!
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10/10
A small gem
DaveP4 February 2008
A nice little film that elicits a wonderful and (thankfully) restrained performance from Michael Douglas as a recent mental institute release who believes a long lost treasure is located underneath the local Costco. His 17 year-old daughter Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood) has somehow managed to get on with life on her own through some bureaucratic foster home snafu, and has adjusted to eking out a simple life without her parents. When her Dad gets released after a few years in the loony bin, she has to slowly readjust to his presence and is not certain he is actually "cured", as he spouts off about buried treasure and naked Chinamen. But is there some truth to his wild claims? There are some good laugh-out-loud moments here and well as some emotional ones, though there is a slight depressing feel through the movie. Evan Rachel Wood, gives another great performance with a chemistry with Douglas that just gels.
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5/10
Somewhat enjoyable but easily forgettable
D A16 January 2008
Michael Douglas finally gets to cut loose a bit as a mentally loose father of one who just got out of an institution only to lead his responsible daughter onto a wild treasure hunt culminating beneath Costco's warehouse floor. King of California is one of those mildly engaging, semi-quirky, enjoyable little indie films that nonetheless becomes pretty forgettable after viewing.

First timer Mike Cahill shows promise, both thematically in his modern versus ancient ruminations, and stylistically in shooting some of the urban locations in a majestic light. Unfortunately, even as the climax continues to build interest, the end result, coupled by Evan Rachel Wood 's omnipotent narration throughout pulls this somewhat unique movie back into a more typical independent-styled, light-hearted character study, forsaking most bona-fide personality for a more well rounded and safer viewing experience.
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9/10
Pretty Great Film
Richard_vmt20 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
King of California takes up a thread out of one of the most cherished (and well-worn) themes Hollywood holds dear, namely that a dream--even or especially an insane dream--is what makes life and even death meaningful.

However, there is also a great deal of brilliance in the execution of this film. For one, the unique depiction of what it means to be young. His 15-year-old daughter, living with neither parent and also lost in the cracks by social services, emancipates herself with a job at McDonalds, making mortgage payments, etc. It is really only the general viability of community in California which makes this seem plausible. She has even purchased an old Volvo on eBay from someone from Pasadena, who happens to be a little old lady. And so, without the complications of a license or insurance, but based on her personal credibility at the wheel as a poised young lady, this house of cards works for her. She has grown into the available space like a weed and she is rightly proud of her accomplishment.

When her Father, recently out of a mental institution, involves her in a hunt for buried treasure, it at first seems as if the action has moved to a wilder landscape in California--until the camera rises over a hill and we observe a Costco. The treasure hunt is taking place in vacant lots. He soon deduces that the treasure is buried directly underneath the Costco. The film pays much attention to the changing landscape as commercial development proceeds. He and his daughter are, by California standards, the old guard.

I thought it was a great touch the way the camera scanning the landscape includes arbitrary floating reflections of ubiquitous corporate icons like "76" and "Chuckie Cheese," which are there even when they are not there.

Transience is a great theme of this film, the transience of the landscape and the transience of people. In a society of newcomers, acting naturally is the coin of the realm.

While King of California is full of wry humor, it is even more so a poignant drama. It is a story about a young woman struggling painfully with her limitations of knowledge and experience. Her zany father is a constant challenge. It is also a story about an absentee Father determined to cut a heroic image for his daughter in the only ways he knows how and at any cost. This is one of the best films at explaining what California means and why Californians love it.
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