King's Ransom

2005, Movie, PG-13, 95 mins


Scripted by former Kenan & Kel writer Wayne Conley and directed by cinematographer Jeff Byrd, this crass, trashy and none-too-funny comedy revolves around a boorish self-made millionaire who, in order to avoid losing half his property to his soon-to-be-ex, comes up with a fake-kidnapping scheme that backfires spectacularly. Lewd, rude, bullying marketing mogul Malcolm King (Anthony Anderson) is in the midst of an ugly divorce from his wife, Renee (Kellita Smith) and on the verge of selling his 10-year-old company, King Enterprises, for $20 million. Determined to protect his assets from Renee, Malcolm and his harebrained girlfriend, former stripper Peaches (Regina Hall), concoct a brilliant scheme. During the company's glitzy 10th-anniversary party the following night, Peaches' fresh-from-the-slammer brother, Herb (Charlie Murphy, Eddie's older brother), will "kidnap" and demand a $10 million ransom from Renee, threatening to kill Malcolm if it isn't delivered. Renee will OK payment because Malcolm has cut her out of his will, and Malcolm's devoted and ferociously capable secretary, Miss Gladys (Loretta Devine), will make sure the transaction is properly executed. Brilliant! So brilliant, in fact, that three other people come up with variations on the same idea. Rapacious Renee, who's afraid the settlement won't go her way; sad-sack Corey (Jay Mohr), whose psycho sister (Lisa Marcos) has just busted out of the joint and is demanding money; and disgruntled employee Angela Drake (Nicole Ari Parker), who quit her job when King promoted Peaches to the job Angela deserved. Angela's roommates, newly impoverished rich ditz Brooke (Brooke D'Orsay) and pious Kim (Leila Arcieri), whose newfound devotion to Jesus is tattooed on her boob, join in; both work for King Enterprises and despise their loutish boss. They all converge on the swanky soiree, and everything promptly goes awry. Herb mistakes a valet named Andre (Donald Faison) for Malcolm and snatches the wrong guy. Renee's toy boy grabs the real Malcolm but loses him to the girls, who in turn have to hand him over to Corey, all of which Malcolm thinks is part of the plan. And the wacky complications keep on coming, along with a stream of vulgar, raunchy gags that demonstrate just how flexible a PG-13 rating can be, accommodating prison sex, marathon boot-knocking, sexual favors on the job and many, many leering shots of shapely posteriors. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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