Comedies are difficult. There’s humour in everyday life but when you try to create an environment for it, there’s a threshold between having fun with the characters whose story you’re telling and mocking them. It’s a bit of a tightrope to walk, and for this film sometimes things land and sometimes they’re just awkward and cringy to spectate. Some audiences will like that, some not so much. This was always going to be a challenge for me, as I always think comedy works best mixed with another genre.
King Knight (2021) is written and directed by Richard Bates, Jr. Thorn (Matthew Gray Gubler) leads a modern times coven as its High Priest along with his life partner Willow (Angela Sarafyan), helping its members overcome life choices and relationships through pagan ritual and ceremony. However their idyllic lives are shattered once Willow discovers Thorn aka Thornton Adams was once… popular. So popular was he that he was Prom King, Class President and played sports in high school. Now he’s been called back to attend his high school reunion. Banished from his coven and thrown into an spiritual journey, Thorn finds himself considering attending. However, that could mean he would be expected to do the one thing he can’t, which is to dance.
Comedy themes such as parody are loaded dice. You can take advantage of ridicule and banality but you must never forget to have empathy for your cast. In all honesty, that line can get blurry, specially with a very slow delivery. Quicker timing would have made for a bit of tighter delivery. As it is, some jokes land and some doesn’t. Sometimes I wanted to meet the movie halfway to a joke, but it just took too much time to get there. That being said, humour is relative and I think there is an audience for this one. The film rests on Matthew Gray Gubler and Angela Sarafyan’s shoulders and they deliver a decent performance. Just keep in mind humour is subjective.
Lightly recommended for comedy lovers of the quirky and awkward, with reservations. I feel each joke or funny situation overextends its stay and the deliver suffers for it. That being said, some audiences might appreciate its brand of humour, which does embrace its cast as a family in the end. Pure comedy films are hard to do, and at least I did find myself wishing this dysfunctional family/coven the best in the end. Your mileage may vary.
That will do for now.