Michael Douglas gives a bravura performance in writer-director Mike Cahill's feature-length debut, KING OF CALIFORNIA. Douglas stars as Charlie, a troubled musician who has just been released from a mental hospital. He returns home to live with his 16-year-old daughter, Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood), who is not exactly thrilled to have him back. Miranda has been forced to quit school and get a job in order to support herself and hold on to her beat-up old car and the family house, which is right in the middle of a new development--but she has refused to sell out. Instead, she works extra shifts at McDonald's and has no social life. But her father--still suffering from mental illness--insists that she join him on a wild adventure in search of supposedly long-buried treasure, and soon the two of them are combing through California, facing danger as Charlie leads them on a crazy quest that takes them through major chain stores and restaurants. Wood (THIRTEEN) is excellent as Miranda, walking that fine line between wanting to believe in her father and feeling he should be hospitalized again--but she never stops loving him, even against her better judgment. Bushy-haired and wild-eyed, Douglas shines every second he's onscreen, dreaming the impossible dream. The outstanding soundtrack features songs by John Coltrane, Seals and Crofts, Bud Powell, Fats Waller, Yma Sumac, and Billy Bragg and Wilco.
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3 stars out of 4 -- "Michael Douglas gives one of his best performances ever as Charlie....The film sticks with you. It's a gift."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (09/20/2007)
"Mr. Douglas, giving his strongest screen performance since WONDER BOYS, creates a portrait of a fanatic on a tear that is at once endearing and maddening, and not overplayed."
New York Times - Stephen Holden (09/14/2007)
"[With] a liberated Douglas -- loose, hairy, and having a blast....It's as if the star finally gets to integrate all his onscreen personas, all at once." -- Grade: B+
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum (09/21/2007)
"Accompanied by a playful score, punchy dialogue and beguiling performances, KING OF CALIFORNIA taps into a number of compelling themes..."
Box Office - Annlee Ellingson (10/01/2007)
4 stars out of 5 -- "Part spiky relationship comedy and part hilarious heist caper, the yin and yang of its excellent stars brings to life the script's unique, joyfully eccentric slant on father/daughter relationships."
Ultimate DVD - Jason Caro (04/01/2008)