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by Willie Waffle

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King's Ransom

Anthony Anderson stars as Malcolm King - a super successful businessman who is a first class obnoxious, selfish jerk. In the middle of a bitter divorce battle, King is inspired with a masterful plan to keep more of his money. He wants to stage his own kidnapping, have the hired kidnapper make and retrieve the huge ransom demand, and make off free and clear with the cash, which would keep it out of his wife, Renee's (Kellita Smith), hands. However, he is not the only person in town who thinks kidnapping King is a profitable business opportunity.

On the appointed night, King Enterprise's 10th Anniversary Party, King is kidnapped, but by whom?

King's Ransom is about what you would expect it to be. It's a simple movie, sometimes crude, sometimes hilarious, but just average when you start to evaluate it. Writer Wayne Conley doesn't put in many twists and turns, and doesn't make it into too much of a madcap farce, which would have been funnier. The series of mistaken identities and competing kidnappers needs more action and energy instead of the uninspired, bland series of twists in the film. Director Jeff Byrd is left to force the action in an awkward manner with basic dialogue provided by Conley, and uses obvious slapstick, which sometimes hits the funny bone, but more often attempts to cover up for the film's script flaws.

The acting similarly is hit or miss, but I have a feeling the material is more to blame than the talent. Regina Hall captures the farcical spirit in her performance as Peaches - King's dimwitted mistress. It's the most easygoing, unlabored performance in King's Ransom. Jay Mohr and Anderson have some funny moments, but Mohr has to force his performance, and Anderson has better chemistry with Smith. The best comedy pairing in the film is Charlie Murphy and Donald Faison. Murphy plays Peaches' brother and ex-con, who is part of one of the kidnapping plots, while Faison is the parking valet who ends up in a precarious situation with the unbalanced ex-con. Anyone who has watched Chapelle's Show knows Murphy is a funny guy with a special talent for playing menacing, scary guys, while Faison has a nice hyperkinetic approach which has the energy every other character could have used.

King's Ransom must have been funny for somebody, since I can no longer hear out of my left ear due to the lady sitting behind me who couldn't stop laughing, very loudly. I think the rest of us will be underwhelmed.

2 Waffles (Out Of 4)

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