King’s Ransom

king's ransom

Some movies are ecstatically terrible, some jokes so cheap they become priceless. No such luck with King’s Ransom, which is just numbingly, unreasonably bad. It doesn’t work on so many levels. A priggish tycoon (Anthony Anderson, barely passable), tries to protect his fortune from a divorce settlement by faking his own kidnapping. He fails, not just because it’s a dumb idea, but because some other schemers had the same dumb idea at the same time, and all the kidnap plots get tangled up. As a farce it’s flaccid, and as a Ruthless People rip-off it’s catastrophic. If director Jeff Byrd seems to have given up entirely on being funny or original, it might be because he’s still utterly stumped by the most basic questions of direction: where to put the camera and what to tell the actors. Standing out, sort of, among the high-school-theater-level ensemble is a dully shticky   performance from Jay Mohr, as one idiot white-trash kidnapper. You can almost see Mohr restrain himself from transcending the material, and you’re forced to wonder if he’s whored himself out here in exchange for a green light on some pet directing project. It’s something to think about, anyway, to keep awake.

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