“The King of Staten Island” (2020) Movie Review

Dir; Judd Apatow. Starring; Pete Davidson, Bel Powley, Marissa Tomei. R. Color. 136 minutes.
Rarely does a mid-20’s comedian get themselves a semi-autobiographical movie about the struggles of growing up. Similarly, rarely does a young comedian come around that is completely crazy yet highly intelligent like Pete Davidson. Collaborating with writer/director Judd Apatow, Davidson becomes an enigmatic figure in “The King of Staten Island”.
Davidson plays Scott, a fictionalized version of his real-life self. Ever since his father died as a firefighter during the terrorist attack on 9/11 Scott has developed into a problem child who never left the house. Living with his younger sister and single mother, Margie (Marisa Tomei), the young man has zero direction. Smoking weed all day and stringing along the girls that he’s sleeping with are all part of a typical day for the unskilled aspiring tattoo artist. I mean, his tattoo’s really suck.
Amongst his mountain of bad decisions, Scott tattoo’s a grade school kid. When the kid’s father Ray (Bill Burr), a firefighter himself, finds out, he is furious and comes threatening Scott. However, Ray and nurse single mother Margie hit it off. A level of resentment oozes between Ray and Scott as the young man is uncomfortable with his mother replacing dad. On top of that, Scott’s younger sister is off at college and thriving, causing even more tension between him and mom.
Completely lost, Scott begins to take positive steps, even if he still makes some negative ones. He starts to walk Ray’s kids from a previous marriage to school and they offer a level of innocent advice that helps him grow. Due to Margie and Ray’s developing relationship, the two are forced to find a common ground and realize that both are flawed. Ray also works at a firehouse ran by a chief known simply as “Papa” (Steve Buscemi). A wise and kind old man, Papa use to work with Scott’s deceased father. He welcomes in the troubled kid and has him going by starting with cleaning trucks and even riding along during a house fire call. While not a career solution, as Scott holds resentment from his fathers death, he does find kindness, connection, and a small level of maturity working at the station.
“The King of Staten Island” is a different take on the source material one would expect. Pete Davidson is known for being the young goof on Saturday Night Live and Judd Apatow is known for stoner comedies like “Superbad” or “Knocked Up”. This is far more thoughtful than work that either of these two comedy staples typically do.
This is also a movie not without its flaws. For starters, the run time is way to long for what is being presented. around the hour-and-a-half mark we pretty much get the point and it truly doesn’t develop into more from there. Also, and I do not mean to sound insensitive, they bring up the dead father a lot. Of course R.I.P. to an American hero, but man does this movie hammer the fact that he’s dead in your more than all of the times Uncle Ben’s death is referenced in the Spider-Man movies combined. Finally, I found Bill Burr’s casting misplaced. Davidson surprises in a more dramatic role. Burr, while not terrible, just does not fit in the father figure/not father figure area.
In the end, “The King of Staten Island” is a very enjoyable dark comedy. It opens a window into a person’s life by both examining as well as parodying it simultaneously.
Suck Factor: 2 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)
Written by Byrd
  • The SUCK FACTOR, how it works. We have flipped the rating system upside down. If a film is classic, it gets a 0. Meaning that movie has 0 SUCKS. If a film is complete trash you must avoid at all costs, it gets a 7, meaning this movie really SUCKS!

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