Running Time: 95 mins
This mildly amusing teen film has a telling line in it: "You have to admire his commitment. He is no longer funny but he keeps up with the joke." From being Eddie Murphy's sidekick in "Blue Streak" and "Life", Lawrence has won at the box office but not in the critic's circle for "Big Momma's House" and "What's the worst thing that can happen?" You have to admire him, here he is again trying to convince us he really is funny.
Jamal (Lawrence) is an attendant at a medieval castle fairground. While cleaning the moat he discovers an amulet that drags him back to a castle in 1328 where he is mistaken as an emissary of the invading Normans. To stall for time he comes up with several routines for the despotic King and his court, but then he falls in lust with Victoria (Marsha Thompson) who co-opts him into helping the resistance dispose of King Leo and enable the Queen to reclaim her throne. By the end Lawrence seems to have saved everyone from everything in the 13th and 21st centuries.
The best thing in this film is the sound track. Randy Edelfman's score saves some scenes from being a waste of time. The only objectionable thing in Black Knight is the blatant cross- advertising. 20th Century Fox made this film. They also own Sky Broadcasting and against any discernible link with the story Jamal wears the identifiable Sky logo on his costume throughout the film. How's that for getting your name into the minds of impressionable young people? Appalling.
There are bawdy bits of humour and carry-on that some parents would not want their children to see or hear, but this predictable and silly film could fill in a slow Saturday afternoon.
Richard Leonard SJ