Kelly (Louisa Krause) is actually a young suburban female who earns cash by webcamming with strangers despite still living at home with her accepting, oblivious parents. What goes on behind locked doors concerns them little, which has allowed Kelly the chance to arrange for the creation of her own website, an idea that sounds just as haphazard as her plans for “exclusive” fan content which amounts to little more than half-baked comedy sketches. Friend Jordan (Libby Woodbridge), possibly just as superficially attractive, considers her own worth by how she’s able to help the manic, selfish Kelly in her goals, enabling Kelly to film all of her own exploits as if she is the star of her own movie. And, holy cow, she is!
Kelly cares little for this follower of hers, ignoring his orders to stop filming, and embracing the rule-breaking that turns his character sideways. As he pursues allegedly-stolen drugs for her, the two have a dark moment in the car, where he takes a deep breath and turns to her (and, of course, her iPhone), demanding that if he take one more step further into illegal behavior, she’s going to have to honor his sexual desires. They have not even kissed at this point, and Hill’s pause before suggesting this conveys a humane desire to prolong giving into his primal urges. It’s an extremely well-played moment, one where Hill recognizes the attitude of someone wrestling with what they desire versus what’s obvious to him as the moral decision. Once it spills from his mouth, it’s almost as if he’s now fully committed to the career-ending behavior of the evening. Kelly’s changed him, and her uncertain affirmation of his request, also coming after a long bit of silence, suggests she’s ill-prepared for the consequences of her selfishness. It’s a discomforting moment, forcing both characters to evaluate just exactly what her sexual currency is supposed to be worth, and it breaks Kelly to make her only compromise in the entire film thus far.
One of director Andrew Neel’s previous films is the documentary “Darkon,” a fairly straightforward, non-judgmental look at the world of Live Action Role Playing. While that film wasn’t without a point of view, its unflinching portrait of the proudest elements of that activity were refreshing and real. “King Kelly,” meanwhile, features a character who takes several moments to remove her clothing, revealing red-white-and-blue star spangled panties and a bra, so as to commemorate the Fourth of July. It’s never pertinent to the plot, and it never needs to be, that “King Kelly” is entirely set on America’s Independence Day. Point taken, Mr. Neel. [B+]