A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie includes raunchy sexual language, irritating humor at an elderly woman's expense, tired stereotypes, fart jokes, and ridiculous plotting -- all potentially offensive for some viewers. While the language is relatively mild, it is repetitive (frequent uses of "damn," "bitch," and "hell" in particular). Characters drink, smoke cigars and cigarettes, splat condiments (mustard, ketchup) on one another's faces, and fight verbally and physically. Wealthy executive Malcolm is selfish and materialistic, loathed by his wife and employees (who call him a "jackass" more than once), but as these supporting players are dim, obnoxious, and/or greedy as well, you're left with no one to like.
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What's the story?
The plot of KING'S RANSOM is premised on the fact that everyone who knows Malcolm (Anthony Anderson) dislikes him and wants revenge for his meanness. In the midst of an ugly divorce from wife Renee (Kellita Smith), Malcolm fires his competent, cocky Acting Vice President of Marketing, Angela (Nicole Parker), to hire his dim-witted, tight-dressed mistress Peaches (Regina Hall). Meanwhile, Angela's friend Kim (Leila Arcieri) has "found Jesus," and impoverished Corey (Jay Mohr) fears his sister Raven (Lisa Marcos), who just escaped from prison and is threatening him for money. Variously desperate, Renee, Angela, and Corey plan separately to kidnap Malcolm for ransom, while he and Peaches, along with her paroled brother Herb (Charlie Murphy), plot his kidnapping themselves, to avoid paying Renee a divorce settlement.
Is it any good?
All the plots of King's Ransom converge in a mostly unfunny cacophony (save for the masks worn by Angela and her two-girl crew, including Condoleezza Rice and Jesse Jackson). Identities are mistaken, promises betrayed, and stereotypes abound (Corey does business with a Chinese pawn shop owner named Miss Ho and beats up a Mexican worker at a fast food joint). The plot proceeds loudly and clumsily, leading to no lessons learned and bad behavior rewarded.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the animosity and envy caused by Malcolm's arrogance, or point out the film's use of broad stereotypes. Families might also consider the fact that the protagonist's name -- Malcolm King -- evokes Civil Rights leaders Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., in ways that can only be described as disappointing.
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