Release Year: 1991
Director: David S. Ward
Writers: David S. Ward (screenplay), Emlyn Williams (novel Headlong)
Starring: John Goodman, Peter O’Toole, John Hurt, Camille Coduri, Richard Griffiths, Leslie Phillips, James Villiers, Joely Richardson, Niall O’Brien, Julian Glover
A freak accident wipes out the entire British royal family and the new heir to the throne is a down-on-his-luck American slob named Ralph. As king of England, he must learn the ways of his new country and try not to make his reign a complete disaster, but an impossible love will force him to make a choice.
John Goodman (The Flintstones, 1994) was a comedic star when King Ralph was released, in large parts due to his work on the excellent sitcom Roseanne (1988-1997), on op of which Goodman earned his first cool credentials in the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink (1991) the very same year, a film that could hardly be more opposite King Ralph. Goodman’s brash and over-the-top comedy combined with a great warmth found a good outlet in this unusual comedy. Goodman is surrounded by a cast of true British greats, lead by the amazing Peter O’Toole (The Lion in Winter, 1968) as the man tasked with fitting Ralph for his new responsibilities, but also including John Hurt (The Elephant Man, 1980) as a scheming MP and Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 2001) as a loyal court historian. Despite its somewhat unseemly plotline (resting mainly on a mass death), the talent in front of the camera promises great things. Sadly, the film cannot quite live up to it. The central story of Ralph having to revue his life choices is solid enough, and Goodman delivers, but the film is dragged down to mediocrity by a completely unbelievable love story. Still the film has its moments and is a decent example of early 1990s comedy.
John Goodman did all his own singing for the film.
Picture Copyright: UIP