King Knight movie review & film summary (2022)

The story goes something like this: A badass-looking but goodhearted leader of a witchy coven somewhere in California—with comical members all clad in monochromatic black-and-white—actually used to be as mainstream a dude as one can get in his younger days. Once, back in high school, he was crowned a prom king and even played competitive sports. Oh, the embarrassment. The question is, what will he do in the midst of the prying eyes of his clan and more importantly, non-conformist wife who obliviously lives amid all their mutual dark spells, sage burning and scented candles: face his past and attend his high-school reunion or continue to live his truth built on a lie?

Still with me? If yes, you will perhaps agree there is something endearingly funny in this unapologetically indie premise for a script that knows how to navigate it with some sharp humor and eccentric twists. But “King Knight” abandons all its thematic assets almost doggedly, and instead gives us a bunch of dull goth-wannabes exchanging aggressively unfunny dialogue for unwelcome amounts of time. Part of that banter even dares to namecheck Juliette Binoche repeatedly as part of a tasteless running joke.

In a pair of stiff performances, Matthew Gray Gubler and Angela Sarafyan awkwardly play the aforementioned characters, the birdbath seller Thorn and his hardcore counterculture wife Willow. They are surrounded by the likes of Kate Comer, Andy Milonakis, and Josh Fadem, introduced in whimsical, voice-over-heavy segments with title cards and fanciful medieval artwork that screams imitation Wes Anderson, but on a shoestring budget. The characters all share an emotionally-lacking sensibility, which is perhaps a commentary on the blasé and flaky California culture. But instead of building on their broad quirks and personalities, Bates Jr. just gives us individuals that come with a mind-numbing checklist of idiosyncrasies. Some romantic hardships experienced by the group—like the one a same-sex couple has been going through—admittedly infuses the film with some mild appeal. But the project’s overarching monotony still takes over in due course.

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