Less amusing than being bound, gagged, and tortured, Jeff Byrd’s kidnapping farce King’s Ransom concerns Malcolm King (Anthony Anderson), a corporate jackass loathed by his gold-digging wife Renee (Kellita Smith), his disrespected employee Angela (Nicole Ari Parker), and a chump named Corey (Jay Mohr) who fails to land a job at King Enterprises. Each of these angry, spiteful idiots concludes that the best way to exact revenge is by taking the egotistical CEO hostage, but complications ensue when Malcolm—in an effort to avoid surrendering half his fortune to Renee in their upcoming divorce—decides to stage his own kidnapping. Following urban comedy conventions, Caucasians are depicted as lunatics (“White folks is crazy,” says Malcolm), African-Americans are portrayed as being obsessed with bling bling and booty (when around Regina Hall’s apple-bottomed Peaches, Donald Faison’s Andre can barely refrain from drooling), and infirm elderly people are ridiculed as disgusting. Chappelle’s Show standout Charlie Murphy appears briefly as an ex-con hired to be Malcolm’s phony kidnapper, yet is quickly reduced to a cartoonish gay predator who likes to glare lasciviously at men in bubble baths. Mohr, meanwhile, simply channels Adam Sandler’s freak-out shtick, though his Corey does elicit this fiasco’s only chuckle during a rampaging attack on the fast food worker who replaced him as the franchise’s hamburger suit-wearing mascot. Scatological pop-culture jokes are tossed about with careless abandon, including an erectile dysfunction commercial for “Boneagra” (its motto: “Straighten up!”), moronic cops who like to eat donuts, and—in an example of insensitive filmmakers getting their cultural stereotypes incorrect—a middle-aged Indian man performing a karaoke rendition of E.U.‘s “Da Butt” at a Chinese (rather than a Japanese) restaurant. To borrow one of Malcolm’s put-downs, King’s Ransom is a film “dipped in stupid.”
- Jeff Byrd
- Wayne Conley
- Anthony Anderson, Donald Faison, Regina Hall, Jay Mohr, Loretta Devine, Kellita Smith, Nicole Ari Parker, Leila Arcieri, Brooke D'Orsay, Charlie Murphy
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