Black Knight

There is a certain level of quality one can expect from a Martin Lawrence movie. He never really surprises anybody; people either love him or hate him. Lawrence (What's the Worst That Could Happen, Big Momma's House) always plays the same, neurotic, spastic character. He may seem annoying and act like a jerk, but he really has a heart of gold. Too bad the movies never develop this last park, so he just looks annoying and like a jerk. Black Knight is an unfunny redux of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, although it never says it is. The basic story is the same, a man from the present lands in the medieval past.

Jamal Walker works at Medieval World, a dilapidated theme park. He is lazy and is thinking of jumping ship to Castle World, a new competitor opening next to Medieval World. See, he needs to be lazy and arrogant so his experiences in the past can change him. He spies an amulet in the moat and reaches for it, and it pulls him underwater. He emerges in the past, trash talking and acting hip the way Lawrence always does. The joke is that he thinks he is in Castle World, while everybody else believes he is from France. After the standard case of mistaken identity, where people think Jamal is somebody important, and Jamal amazingly manages to talk his way out of trouble, the thin story emerges.

There are a group of people, including the lovely Victoria (Marsha Thompson, Priest, Safe) who are trying to restore the Queen to power. They plot to assassinate the current King, who arose to power by usurping the throne. Victoria believes Jamal is going to help, and he initially refuses to. Of course, after he learns the value of courage, respect, loyalty, and all those other nice qualities that a knight embodies. Aside from the plot, there is very little in Black Knight different from any other Lawrence movie. Lawrence plays the same character he always plays, stretching the same jokes far beyond the point of humor. Lawrence's idea of humor is making bug-eyes and squealing noises.

Everything looks sloppily thrown together. The story by Darryl J. Quarles (Big Momma's House, Soldier Boyz) and Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow (Say It Isn't So) mine old jokes without adding anything fresh. The sets look fair, and to be honest, director Gil Junger (10 Things I Hate About You) moves things quickly so that there is no time to sit back and reflect on how bad the movie is. Junger is more concerned with filling the screen with Lawrence's antics than anything else. There is a large portion of the movie where nothing much happens except for Lawrence acting like a fool, but then again, one could say that is the entire movie.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 35 minutes, Rated PG-1 for language, crude/sexual humor and battle violence.

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