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20th 20th Century Fox
Official Site
Director: Gil Junger
Producers: Martin Lawrence, Jeffrey Kwatinetz, Peaches Davis, Jack Brodsky
Written by: Darryl Quarles, Peter Gaulke, Gary Swallow
Cast: Martin Lawrence, Tom Wilkinson, Marsha Thomason, Vincent Regan

Rating: out of 5

Suspend your disbelief for a moment. Suppose I told you that BLACK KNIGHT is a postmodern work laced with Shakesperian themes and contemporary metaphors.

I'd be lying.

It is, simply, Martin Lawrence chillin'í in medireview times. The possibilities are endless! Actually, the possibilities last for roughly an hour, leaving us with an additional thirty or forty minutes of... fluff, to put it nicely.

BLACK KNIGHT was funnier than I expected, but I didn't expect much. It was better than the excruciating trailer, but then again, it would be next to impossible to be any worse.

Jamal Walker (Lawrence), a Los Angeles theme park janitor, falls into a moat and is magically transported to a swamp in England, the year 1328. Jamal is the typical bumbling-idiot-slash-gigolo type. For quite some time, he goes on thinking that the horses, knights, nobles, peasants, and king and castle are all part of an elaborate act at the new medireview amusement park in town. Not until he picks up a recently decapitated human head does Jamal realize he has been inexplicably transported through time.

Clearly, with this sort of setup, the script was hideous. My personal favorite gem in the script was, "I'm starting to like this word 'moor' less and less."

As soon as gorgeous princess Victoria (Thomason) appears on screen, we know she will be Martin'ís main squeeze. Especially after he delivers the high- quality pickup line, "Girl, don't cheat yourself, treat yourself."

The king and his subjects believe Jamal is a messenger from Normandy, which neatly prevents him from certain decapitation. He accidentally saves the king from the weak assassination subplot, making him the nemesis of Percival (Regan), the flat villain character. Then, surprise! A retired knight, Knolte (Wilkinson) turns up at just the right time to teach Jamal everything he ever needed to know about swordfighting. Thank goodness!

Okay, I chuckled a few more times than I'd like to admit. Thanks to Lawrence's comedic genius, the scenes where Jamal discovers fourteenth- century Brits' lack of hygeine, eating utensils, and proper plumbing were amusing. For better or worse, I felt disconnected from popular culture, as I noticed that the rest of the audience was laughing gutturally, and much more frequently than me.

Thankfully, BLACK KNIGHT is a mindless movie. It doesn't try to be anything more. Yeah, there is an attempt at to convey a couple of tidy morals at the end (Don't swim in moats. Be noble.), but they are easy to forget. Instead, viewers should plan to lose a few brain cells during the film.

óMichelle Fajkus

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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