Money for nothing

‘King’s Ransom’ trades comic potential for contrived conspiracies

Claire Joseph

Money makes people do stupid things.

Like create the movie “King’s Ransom.”

“King’s Ransom” centers on the idea that earning money might taint good people and that the possibility of netting even more money almost surely will.

Malcolm King (Anthony Anderson), a businessman who is hated by everybody except his personal assistant, finds himself in a messy divorce with a woman who wants at least half his money.

In an attempt to hang onto his cash, Malcolm plans to hire someone to kidnap him and demand $10 million of Malcolm’s own money, to be retrieved by his wife.

Then, after the kidnapping, he’ll be ahead $10 million when he splits his assets with his wife.

Unfortunately for Malcolm, three other groups decide to kidnap Malcolm on the same night for which he’s planned his own kidnapping.

The result is confusing for Malcolm and everyone involved.

It seems as if director Jeff Byrd has purposely created a film with a storyline that, like the characters of the film, lacks basic common sense.

Although the film’s concepts might not be realistic, its failure lies in the fact that its characters’ dismal intelligence levels have created a film that is both frustrating and irritating.

Some characters are unnecessary and stereotypical.

Peaches (Regina Hall), Malcolm’s attractive but extremely stupid secretary (and latest fling), dances to “Milkshake” at the office while struggling to remember how to use the “hold” feature of her telephone.

Corey (Jay Mohr), Malcolm’s ultimate kidnapper, is a lonely 20-something virgin living in the basement of his grandmother’s house.

His idea of a productive afternoon is beating up the people working at the local fast-food joint (from which he was recently fired) and pulling out his grandmother’s hearing aid to yell at her.

If there are any humorous aspects of the relationship between a loser grandson and his grandmother, it has probably been seen in “Happy Gilmore.”

Malcolm, a self-made millionaire, isn’t immediately aware he might not be kidnapped by the man whom he paid to kidnap him.

Malcolm isn’t even able to figure out a way to escape the confines of the basement couch while his kidnapper runs out to pick up his Chinese food order.

Unfortunately for the studio, most audiences are free to come and go as they please.