King of California


King of California

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 67


Audience Score

User Ratings: 16,537
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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 Father Juan Florismarte Garces is buried somewhere near their suburban California housing unit. Armed with a metal detector and a stack of treasure-hunting books, Charlie soon finds reason to believe that the gold resides underneath the local Costco, and encourages Miranda to get a job there so that they can plan a way to excavate after hours.

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Anna Khaja
as Off. Contreras
Anne Nathan
as Applebee's Manager
Will Rothhaar
as Estate Security Guard
Anne L. Nathan
as Applebee's Manager
Arthur Santiago
as McDonald's Manager
Ashley Greene
as McDonald's Customer
David O'Donnell
as Firefighter
Chic Daniel
as Older Cop
Angel Oquendo
as Younger Cop
Jason Auer
as Costco Employee
Ho-Kwan Tse
as Chinese Man
Allisyn Ashley Arm
as Miranda Age 9
Gary Paul Gates
as Cop at Excavation
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Critic Reviews for King of California

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (29)

Audience Reviews for King of California

  • Mar 31, 2012
    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.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2011
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2011
    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.
    Mark W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 21, 2010
    Writer-director Mike Cahill's debut feature is never really deciding if it's a comedy or drama. This is the second Michael Douglas film that he used to play his character with his real beard. He makes his performance as Charles work nicely, acting like a loony was released from the home a bit too early. The ever developing Evan Rachel Wood is solid in the role of Miranda, the whole movie develops through her narration and her acting is effortlessly touching.
    Dean M Super Reviewer

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