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Genre: Drama/Comedy
Starring: Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood, Will Rothhaar, Paul Lieber, Tarri Markell
Director: Mike Cahill
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2007




- Making-of Featurette
- Outtakes
- Previews




Languages: English/Spanish
Subtitles: English/Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 33 mins
Region Code: 1




At age sixteen, Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood) has already been abandoned by her mother, dropped out of school and has been supporting herself as an employee at McDonald's while her father Charlie (Michael Douglas) resides in a mental institution.

When Charlie is released and sent back to their home, the relatively peaceful existence Miranda’s built for herself becomes completely disrupted. Charlie has become obsessed with the notion that a long-lost Spanish treasure is buried underneath their local suburban California Costco.

Initially sceptical, Miranda soon finds herself joining in Charlie’s questionable antics in an effort to give him one last shot at accomplishing his dreams in this darkly funny, exciting and surprisingly hopeful take on the modern family and the American dream.


Academy Award winner Michael Douglas often plays successful business executives and political figures. Think The American President (1995) and Traffic (2000). However did director Mike Cahill manage to turn the established actor into a disheveled, scruffy and unkempt resident of a mental institution? That alone deserves some recognition. Acting serious has always been Douglas’s signature, but acting loony? Check it out in this movie which never made it to our local theatres.

Douglas plays father figure to Evan Rachel Wood (Across the Universe), and his life is as shabby and tattered as he looks. Just released from the mental institution, he and his daughter go on an adventure to find an ancient Spanish treasure. The problem is, the girl isn’t exactly on the best terms with her father. You wouldn’t too, if you were abandoned by your mother and had to work in a fast food restaurant while your father is locked up in the mental institution.

The plot may sound ridiculous, but thanks to its quirky approach, you go along for the ride to find that mysterious treasure. You’ll enjoy the use of voiceovers to narrate the story, you’ll enjoy the constant use of effective flashbacks to explain the plot, and you’d enjoy every bit of neuroticism displayed by Douglas and every bit of charm exuded by Rachel Wood.

Douglas’s veteran status is evident here as the experienced actor plays his character with gusto, energy and fervor. Rachel Wood’s appealing charisma is spiritedly sweet without having you think that she is just another pretty actress with no depth. Couple that with newcomer director Cahill’s witty scripting, and you get a father daughter pairing with such good chemistry, it’s enjoyably fun to watch.

This 93 minute comedy has an indie feel to it (that’s probably why no local distributor wanted to release it here), and beneath the wackiness and craziness, there is a meaningful message about family ties. And this is all it takes to make this film recommended for one of those family get togethers where you crowd around the television set with your rarely seen relatives and distant family members. Everyone will be entertained and realize the importance of closely knitted familial relationships.


This Code 1 disc contains a “Commentary Audio with Writer/ Director Mike Cahill, Cinematographer Jim Whitaker, Production Designer Dan Bishop and First Assistant Director Richard L. Fox” where you hear how the film did not have enough budget to buy guns and dogs which were originally in the script, and how a certain fast food restaurant suggested a line to the filmmakers which made it to the final version of the film. “The Making of King of California” is a 10 minute featurette where you hear the cast and crew talk about the film. Douglas says that the script is one of the best he has ever seen because it is “magical”, while Rachel Wood says that it has “heart”. There are also five minutes of “Outtakes” and a “Theatrical Trailer”, as well as other features available distributed by this DVD label.


The disc’s remarkable visual transfer makes the vast landscapes look beautiful, and the film is can be presented in its English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, English DTS or English 2.0 Stereo.




Review by John Li


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