The King of Staten Island – Movie Review

Directed By: Judd Apatow

Written By : Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson, Dave Sirus

Starring      : Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, Steve Buscemi 

Pete Davidson finds himself leading another coming-of-age movie that once again, involves him being a 20+ year old bum – you’d think he’s been in a bunch of Judd Apatow films all his life, but ironically this is his very first one.

The King of Staten Island follows Scott Carlin, a 24-year old high-school dropout who lives in his mother’s basement, has dreams of opening his own tattoo parlor one day, and essentially has a hard time of standing on his own two-feet. But everything changes when his mother starts dating someone for the first time after his father’s passing – Scott now has to face his biggest challenge yet; growing up…

The story is essentially an autobiography of SNL’s Pete Davidson, (both Pete and Scott have a deceased father who died in a firefighting incident, not to mention that the character’s name ‘Scott’ derives from Davidson’s father.)

Through & through, The King of Staten Island is very much a Judd Apatow movie. Has a lovable main lead that you want to keep rooting for – even though they keep on failing throughout the film, charming supporting characters that even manage to steal the spotlight from our main lead a few times, that classic Apatow locker room dialogue that might ruffle some feathers nowadays, but are still entertaining nevertheless – and lastly, it meanders in the third act, but it gets its bearings straight just in time – that it leaves you with an emotionally satisfying ending.

Pete Davidson is great in this film, one might dismiss him as simply playing himself, and while that may be the case – since it is an autobiography after all, he still conveys a certain vulnerability that’s akin to Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems where you just wanna see the guy be happy despite his shortcomings. The supporting cast, much like all of Apatow’s films are always a blast to watch whether that’s Marisa Tomei playing Scott’s mother, channeling her Staten Island aunt May, or Bill Burr as a more toned-down version of himself playing her boyfriend.

As for coming-of-age movies go, The King of Staten island is a solid one – it’s got heart, charm, and leaves you motivated about life in the end.

The King of Staten Island is now available on demand.

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