Evan Rachel Wood
Willis Burks II
Besides crazed beards of glory, KING OF CALIFORNIA has a few other things going for it. One is a plot that revolves around Costco, which is surely one of the greatest places on Earth. Another is a funny, lighthearted script that really nails its two well-realized main characters. And the third is a fantastic and much welcome performance by Michael Douglas.
Douglas is vibrant and alive as Charlie, a role that allows him to cut loose and go crazy (literally)ósomething we donít see from Douglas too often. His performance is enjoyably comedic and wacky (without being annoying or unbelievable), but he still has a strong emotional center as a father trying to make up for his failures. Itís really a great character to remind you of what an effective actor Douglas can be. Evan Rachel Wood also handles herself very well as the mature-beyond-her-years Miranda, which strengthens the dynamic between the father-daughter team. Itís easy to see why Miranda is still drawn to Charlie despite his obvious lunacy and utter lack of child-rearing skills. As a result, the two share some genuinely funny, sweet and sad moments together.
The treasure hunting aspect of KING OF CALIFORNIA can be fun, but I thought some other parts were a little slow and altogether simple. Sometimes both of these things kinda work in its favor; other times not so much. Ultimately, itís a feel-good movieóthe kind thatís fun and easy to watch, but not necessarily something Iíll pop in the olí DVD player again anytime soon.
The Making of KING OF CALIFORNIA (9:58): The cast gushes on the script, the filmmakers gush all over the cast, and a voodoo priestess brings the script to life so it can gush about the director. Itís the circle of life.
Outtakes (4:43): Nothing too side-splitting, but itís nice to see Gordon Gekko act silly.
Trailers and Previews.
Extra Tidbit: The gold was buried underneath a Wal-Mart in the original script. However, the monopolistic chain wouldnít allow filming in their store, leaving the production strandedÖuntil Costco came and saved the day. God bless you, Costco.