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When an accident obliterates the British royal family and most of its branches, a desperate geneological search discovers the next King: Ralph, a sleazy American lounge singer. Can Ralph measure up to the job, even with the help of loyal aristocrat Willingham?Written by
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The "punks" who are shown watching television and commenting at various times throughout the months-long reign of King Ralph are always wearing the same clothing. See more »
Sir Cedric Willingham:
How's it going, Your Majesty?
Great. We've got nothing in common and she's got a voice like a tuba. If she had her way, we'd have sex on a bed of nails on national television. But at least the party stinks.
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So I don't consider this a classic, as some other reviewers have labeled it. You really have to stretch the imagination to accept the premise that the first 30 people or so in line for the crown are suddenly killed and England, one of the largest and most powerful economies of the world, has to ask some D list lounge singer to be their new king. But I get it; this is a just-for-laughs fish out of water story, not a serious what-if film.
John Goodman, whose career was built on playing the middle-aged working class every man, does a decent job here portraying a beer drinking, football loving regular Joe who just can't stop creating uncomfortable moments around stuffy British people.
The gags are a bit of a mixed bag. When they develop in a way that's organic to the character and moment, they work pretty well. But for every good setup there is the overly forced one, such as when Goodman's character accidentally launches a greasy bird off his plate at a state dinner while trying to cut into it. The ensuing chaos sees every glass along a long, long table fall over like dominoes for nearly 30 seconds. The scene feels so desperate to hit the laugh; you can practically see the little charges going off to keep the glasses falling in comedic fashion past the horrified diners. The problem is, comedy is really hard. Even a whiff of desperation for laughs like that scene has turns funny into sad really quick.
The other part of this movie that's hard to swallow is the romance subplot. Hollywood knows that one of their major target demographics, middle aged guys, will identify with Goodman and so they supply the dream girl for the viewers alter-ego. In this case the movie asks us to believe that an insanely gorgeous 26 year old is just dying to fall in love with her dream guy: an obese man nearly old enough to be her father. When the leading man is Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt, yah OK I can believe that. But Goodman? I don't know, I just think an actress more age appropriate would have been easier to believe. The two here just don't seem like they go together.
My enjoyment of the film may have been effected by the fact that I don't care much for the concept of a monarchy, and I find arguments that keeping families in an artificial state of wealth and privilege is a good thing because they "serve the people" facile and ignorant. Note that the fantasy is always that you get to suddenly become royalty, never that you get to suddenly be a subject who gets sent to prison for not bowing properly or mouthing off. Monarchies are an outdated and brutish form of government best left in the history books, imho.
All in all, I managed to watch the whole movie, even if I wasn't enthralled the whole way thru. Passable entertainment.
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