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King of California (2007)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 68
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 25

A quirky and often touching comedy about a mature teenager and her manic depressive father, King of California is a charming tale of familial relations and treasure hunting.


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 9

A quirky and often touching comedy about a mature teenager and her manic depressive father, King of California is a charming tale of familial relations and treasure hunting.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 16,401

My Rating

Movie Info

At the age of 16, Miranda has already had to live with her share of disappointments. Abandoned by her mother, she's dropped out of school and has been supporting herself as an employee at McDonald's while her father Charlie resides in a mental institution. When Charlie is released and sent back to their home, Miranda finds the relatively peaceful existence she's built for herself completely disrupted. Charlie has become obsessed with the notion that the long-lost treasure of Spanish explorer


Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Mike Cahill

Jan 29, 2008

First Look Studios - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on King of California

September 13, 2007:
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January 30, 2007:
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We know some of you hate reading those cumbersome long reviews, so here's a gaggle of Sundance...


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All Critics (71) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (25) | DVD (6)

The most remarkable thing about King of California is how the characters grow on you, and how their quixotic quest becomes ours.

October 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

King of California means to be the jewel in the crown of indie-flick quirkiness, but it's really just a bauble with ambition.

October 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comment (1)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer-director Mike Cahill explores Charlie's foolishness with funny-sad fondness.

October 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rambunctious and rousing from beginning to end, the hugely entertaining King of California offers Michael Douglas his best role since Traffic.

October 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comment (1)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Intermittedly entertaining if mostly contrived.

October 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While the project certainly has its clever aspects, the bulk of the credit goes to Douglas.

October 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For an 'adventure movie' full of quirk, King of California can feel a bit flat.

August 25, 2008 Full Review Source:

ypotonikis ekdohis toy National Treasure (2004), poy aromatizetai katatonia aneksartitoy amerikanikoy, komple me to flyaro voice over gia ypokatastato tis afigisis kai liges ksekoyrdistes country hordes sti moysiki ypokroysi gia to sosto feeling

June 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

'The King of California' is an easily-entertaining film that features two bravura performances. Douglas plays the character of the loony treasure-hunter Charlie with zest, passion, comedy and, well, hyperactivity - its Jack Colton post-drugs, if you will

February 11, 2008
Moviehole of those efforts that's destined to improve on subsequent viewings.

January 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

It's barely distinguishable from the many other independent films about eccentric people who do odd things, but hey, it ain't bad.

December 28, 2007 Full Review Source:

Quirky dramedy mixes humor and mature themes.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The clunky King of California leaves you with all the satisfaction of hitting caliche in your backyard.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star | Comment (1)
Arizona Daily Star

The story is simple, sometimes to a fault, and ultimately Cahill doesn't quite pull off all of the majesty that he attempts. But, I'm excited to see what he'll come up with next.

October 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

As scripted and directed by Mike Cahill, King of California reveals itself to be a moving, bemusing gem embellished by standout work from Douglas and the habitually marvellous Evan Rachel Wood.

October 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

The performances by Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood are the highlight of this comedy-drama.

October 12, 2007
Salt Lake Tribune

The film is really at its best when it's dealing with the dysfunctional father-daughter relationship. Douglas and Wood's believable character dynamic certainly helps.

October 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Michael Douglas is getting all the praise ... but Rachael Evan Wood is just as good ...

October 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Atlantic City Weekly
Atlantic City Weekly

[A] small but cuddly film.

October 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

The success of those sequences only underline how good the film might have been if it wasn't so busy trying to be cute.

October 10, 2007 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for King of California

Miranda: You don't take anything seriously do you? You think the world is just here for your amusement! 

"We're all searching for something..."

It took awhile for King of California to completely win me over, but in the end, it did. Mostly due to it's leads, Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood. Both are really good in this father-daughter dramedy. I won't say that this is necessarily a great movie, but it is a rather good one. It seems to be missing something that would really take it over the top, but it survives never the less.

Miranda is a 16 year old who has been living on her own for awhile. The reason? Her father, Charlie, has been in a mental institution. Well, he gets out, and it doesn't take long to see that he still seems crazy. He begins telling Miranda of buried treasure that's buried somewhere below the city. He has researched it all in the institution. Miranda has a tough time deciding whether to encourage him or tell him he is crazy, but along the hunt, the two begin to connect.

I really liked the idea for the movie and Michael Douglas was the perfect choice for Charlie. He looks the part, with a thick, scraggly beard. Plus you know that Michael Douglas is going to play his character perfectly. Evan Rachel Wood nearly matches Douglas with her performance as the crazy guys daughter. She's really likable and you can always feel for what her character has and is going through.

King of California is definitely worth a look. It's a brisk and somewhat emotionally moving film. It's quirky, but not too quirky to where it would be off-putting. The dramedy can be a challenging task, but in this case it worked well.
March 31, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

King of California is a wonderful drama comedy. I very much enjoyed the film, and I thought that Michael Douglas delivered one of his greatest performances here. The cast is great and story though a bit silly, is enjoyable and entertaining. King of California is one of those indie films that really are great, unlike such trash as Juno; this indie film really is a wonderful film. I very much enjoyed the film, and thought the story was great. The cast pull off something great here, and director Mike Cahill directs a strong film with effective pacing, and thought at times, it's slow; King of California always manages to be entertaining. After being convinced that there is treasure buried underneath their neighborhood Costco, Charlie sets out on a quest to discover it. In the process he reconnects with his estranged daughter. This film succeeds where so many indie films have failed. This film simply has a charming story and a good cast to boot. King of California is one of the best indie films that I have seen. The film blends good comedy, with drama and the story is engaging and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and if you're looking for a terrific independent film, give King of California a viewing. One of Michael Douglas' best films. This is a film not to miss. I absolutely recommend this film. A great film.
October 24, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Cast: Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood, Laura Kachergus, Will Rothhaar, Paul Lieber, Kathleen Wilhoite

Director: Mike Cahill

Summary: This quirky Sundance comedy from writer-director Mike Cahill chronicles the journey of a delusional father (Michael Douglas) who's convinced that a fabled treasure is buried somewhere beneath his Southern California suburb. His delinquent daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) -- a high school dropout who was abandoned by her mother and saw her father sent to a mental institution -- resists his ravings at first. But, eventually, she starts to believe.

My Thoughts: "I really didn't know what to expect from this type of movie.. I thought I wasn't going to like it, but to my surprise I really enjoyed it.. It was funny, interesting, and deffinetly made you want to keep watching it just to see if there really was gold.. Its about a strange relationship between a daughter who has pretty much been on her own since her mother left them, and a father who is, by society, claimed mentally insane. But as it goes it just shows you what a genius he is.
Its a good father and daughter movie.. I recommend it."
June 6, 2011

Super Reviewer

Nepotism is rife throughout Hollywood and as much as I despise it, I think I may have to finally admit that after all these years, Michael Douglas does have some talent of his own and isn't just a by-product of his father Kirk.
Douglas' plays Charlie, a free-spirited eccentric who's just been released from a mental institution and is obsessed with locating an ancient Spanish treasure that he believes is buried right under peoples noses in California. To aide him in his crazy quest - and against her better judgement - he enlists his sixteen-year-old daughter Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood).
Douglas is a treat to watch here. I always took him to be one of the self-important Hollywood types, but here he doesn't take himself too seriously at all and reminded me, that he has in fact produced some wonderful comedic performances throughout his career; "War of the Roses"; "Wonderboys"; and "One Night at McCools", to name a few.
His character of Charlie can be included amongst these oddities. He's highly intelligent but also quite dysfunctional on a basic level and Douglas perfectly captures this creative, intelligent madness. This is also helped by Evan Rachel Wood's sensitive performance as Miranda and her almost escapist, dreamlike perspective which adds to the surreal and farout nature of her father and her feelings of a stolen childhood, due his quirky demeanor. They are both delightful performances in an unexpectedly delightful film.
It's not groundbreaking material by any means but it is an original little caper with a real sense for the offbeat.
May 5, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Charlie: Breaking and entering makes everything taste different---livelier.
    – Submitted by Frances H (8 months ago)
    1. Miranda: Time to get back on that old bi-polar pony ride.
    – Submitted by Frances H (8 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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