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Thursday, October 11, 2007

King of California

Posted on Thu, Oct 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

***
King of California
Studio: First Look
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Michael Douglas, Rachel Evan Wood
Director: Michael Cahill
WorkNameSort: King of California
Our Rating: 3.00
Personifying the perturbed Everyman of the ’80s and ’90s in films like Falling Down and Fatal Attraction, Michael Douglas has since transformed himself into a versatile actor with the range and depth that comes from a lengthy career. In one of his most memorable roles, Douglas plays Charlie, a certifiable loon; he’s convincing sporting an old homeless guy’s graying beard and bugged-out eyes. Just out of a mental institution, Charlie returns to upend and also invigorate the life of his teenage daughter, Miranda, played by Evan Rachel Wood, as he enlists her in an obsessive hunt for a Spanish explorer’s treasure. The setting for their adventures – the arid suburban landscape of the Santa Clarita Valley near Los Angeles – is effectively utilized as an utterly bizarre place to search for a chest of gold. Wood is such a knockout that the audience might wish she were a more capable actress. In King of California her TV-style acting is particularly wanting when paired with Douglas’ manic brilliance, but as bogus as she appears when she’s sad or upset, it doesn’t take anything away from this small but cuddly film.

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