King of California

Though it’s packed with quirky details and film-school tricks, King of California is an emotionally tepid, bland film. Mike Cahill loses his directorial virginity with a story about 16-year-old Miranda (Wood), who must work at McDonald’s to support herself and her father Charlie (Douglas), freshly released from a mental institution. Clearly not cured and convinced that the lost treasure of Father Juan Florismarte Garces is buried under Costco, Charlie drags his daughter on his quixotic search. Douglas nearly saves the film with his wild-eyed eccentricity. The acting volleys between Douglas and Wood, however, bring to mind what it must be like watching someone serve a tennis ball into mud. Cahill shows potential as a writer/director, but King of California’s hackneyed storytelling and ten-years-too-late “indie style� just come off as an exercise in quirkiness for quirk’s sake.-By Michael Immerman

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