Watch King Ralph
- 1 hr 37 min
King Ralph is a 1991 comedy film directed by David S. Ward and starring John Goodman, Peter O'Toole, and John Hurt. The movie tells the story of Ralph Jones (Goodman), an American lounge singer who becomes the King of England after a freak accident wipes out the entire royal family. The film opens with a sequence that introduces the audience to Ralph, a man who loves his job as a lounge singer but has little ambition beyond that. We see him perform in a Las Vegas casino, where he sings in a bright blue suit and riles up the audience with his antics. After the show, Ralph retires to his modest apartment and settles in for a night of drinking and TV.
At the same time, on the other side of the world, the entire British royal family is gathered in a single room, watching a boxing match on television. Suddenly, a gas explosion rips through the room, killing all of them except for one distant cousin, Cedric Willingham (Hurt), who is deemed unsuitable to become monarch. The British government sets about finding a replacement king, and somehow, through a series of bureaucratic mix-ups, they settle on Ralph.
Ralph is flown to London and given a crash course in royal etiquette by Lord Percival Graves (O'Toole), the royal family's advisor. Ralph is initially bewildered by the trappings of his new position, but soon finds his feet and wins over the public with his down-to-earth attitude and good humor. He even falls in love with a British bartender named Miranda (Camille Coduri).
However, Ralph's reign is threatened by two factions: the snobbish Lord Graves, who thinks Ralph is a buffoon and wants him to abdicate, and a group of republican revolutionaries who want to overthrow the monarchy altogether. Meanwhile, Ralph must also contend with the pressure of finding a wife and producing an heir to the throne.
King Ralph is an enjoyable romp of a movie, filled with sight gags, screwball comedy, and the kind of fish-out-of-water storyline that John Goodman excels at. Goodman is perfectly cast as Ralph, a lovable slob with a heart of gold who rises to the occasion when the situation demands it. His performance is both hilarious and heartfelt, and he manages to sell what could easily have been a one-note character with his infectious charisma.
Peter O'Toole is equally fun to watch as the stuffy Lord Graves, a man who takes his job as royal advisor very seriously and cannot abide Ralph's unorthodox ways. O'Toole plays the character with a haughty disdain that is both funny and a little bit scary, and his scenes with Goodman crackle with comic energy.
John Hurt, as Cedric Willingham, has less screen time than the other two leads but still manages to make an impact with his understated performance. Cedric is a character who has been living on the fringes of society for much of his life, and Hurt brings a quiet dignity to the role that contrasts nicely with the more boisterous energy of the other characters.
The supporting cast is also top-notch, with standout performances from a young Richard Griffiths as Ralph's publicist and Alison Steadman as Lord Graves' haughty wife. The movie is filled with small moments of comic brilliance, from the deadpan reactions of the British officials to Ralph's antics to the ridiculous costumes that he is forced to wear in public.
Overall, King Ralph is a fun and frothy comedy that does not take itself too seriously. It is a movie that revels in its own absurdity, and that is part of what makes it so enjoyable to watch. The chemistry between the three leads is fantastic, and the movie is a testament to the power of good casting. If you are in the mood for something light and fluffy, King Ralph is definitely worth a watch.
King Ralph is a 1991 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.4.