Black Knight

Director:Gil Junger
Writers:Darryl Quarles, Peter Gaulke, and Gerry Swallow
20th Century Fox; PG-13; 97 minutes
Cast:Martin Lawrence, Marsha Thomason, Tom Wilkinson

Black Knight delivers manic comic Martin Lawrence into medieval England, a la A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Jamal (Lawrence) falls into the artificial moat of a theme park and crawls out in 1328. The locals mistake him for a foreign emissary, disparagingly referring to Jamal as a “moor.”

Black Knight squeezes predictable jokes out of the premise but lacks the off-kilter spontaneity that propelled Lawrence's earlier comic work. For example, when Jamal teaches the courtly musicians to play a funk standard by Sly and the Family Stone, the humor is spoiled by the fact that pop music anachronisms featured prominently in one of this year's other medieval comedies, A Knight's Tale. Like Black Knight, the sequence is amusing but a bit too familiar.