'The King of Staten Island' is on On Demand June 12th, 2020.
As a fan of Pete Davidson, I saw a few previews for this movie and figured it’d be interesting to check
out. His stand-up on Netflix, “Alive in New York” was super cynical and self-deprecating, so I figured this
may be an extension of that. Previews showed this is a semi-autobiographical dramedy about growing
up in Staten Island and losing a father who’s a firefighter.
To be honest, it wasn’t until a bit into the movie when I saw Maude Apatow in the cast as Pete- or his character Scott’s sister, that I researched this movie was directed by Judd Apatow. Which was confusing to be because this felt like a very low-budget Indie movie. Not to say I have any problems with Indie movies, they can be great, but I was not expecting a big-name director like Apatow to be behind this.
The King of Staten Island felt slow and underdeveloped, with quite a few open-ended plot developments that were left unanswered, yet this movie was over 2 hours. There was more than enough time to find some resolve and yet after the movie I still had questions about Scott’s life and future. While there were a few sweet moments and laughable scenes, I could feel this movie dragging a little longer than I needed. It also felt very niche to Staten Island, as if only someone from there could truly understand its purpose. I remember watching a few scenes and feeling like I was on the outside of an inside joke – like something was meant to be funny or relatable, yet I didn’t feel that vibe whatsoever because I wasn’t born and raised in Staten Island. The writing felt like it could have been more relatable to the whole audience, instead of pandering strictly to New Yorkers.
One shining point was the cast. Pete Davidson and Maude Apatow had great chemistry as brother and sister, and Pete gave a very real performance that likely wasn’t completely acting at times. His self- deprecating humor and deadpan views on life resonated with the purpose of the movie. Marisa Tomei played Scott and Claire’s mom in a role she seems to be born for, and Bill Burr played a surprising role as her love interest, another firefighter. While I didn’t dislike their romance, this was one of the things that felt underdeveloped. I couldn’t tell whether I was supposed to like them together or not because there was a lack of overall focus on their relationship.
The other shining point was the soundtrack. Every song felt like a soundtrack of the summer with both new music and absolute classics like “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi. I’ll definitely be looking up the soundtrack after this.
Like a few other movies I’ve seen the past few months, this is one of those quarantine watches. Not a movie I’d have gone out to the theater and spent money on, it was just too long. But if you’re a Pete Davidson fan and catch yourself with nothing to do over a weekend, OR if you’re from Staten Island, maybe this movie would be worth checking out.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Lauren Gallagher (Contributor) is born and raised in South Jersey. When she isn’t yelling at Philly sports teams on the TV, she enjoys seeing the latest action films and true crime documentaries.
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