The King of Staten Island

The King of SI 2

By Joanna Langfield

I am a Pete Davidson fan. And in their heartfelt collaboration, Judd Apatow almost figures out how to make him a star.

From his first SNL appearance, I thought Davidson was something special. Charismatic and funny, you could just feel this much of a raw nerve exposed, a vulnerability that made his work compelling and, perhaps, his personal life, complicated. Unfortunately and maybe for good reasons, SNL hasn’t provided Davidson with the kind of opportunities that could show his growth as a performer. I was hoping that this, a somewhat autobiographical piece under the tutelage of Apatow, a comedian and filmmaker who knows how to showcase other funny folk, would. And it does, to a point.

That point? Davidson, who also co-wrote the script, stars as a 24 year old Staten Islander, still living at home but flirting with adulthood. It’s not easy for Scott, whose firefighter father died on the job many years ago (similarly to Pete’s real life father, a firefighter named Scott who died on 9/11) and who now suffers with a host of issues, ranging from ADD to depression to drug dependency. Still, Scott’s mother (a terrific Marisa Tomei), sister (a charming Maude Apatow) and sorta girlfriend, (a fantastic Bel Powley) don’t give up on him. Until they do. It’s just as a new guy enters their lives, another firefighter played by an outstanding Bill Burr, the women call upon Scott to man up. But can he?

Surrounded by top notch veterans, Davidson ups his acting game. Each scene he’s in offers a peek into what this comic actor can do and much of it is accomplished and satisfying. I wish a few line reads didn’t feel expected, just as I wish much of the script didn’t feel expected too. But. There is tremendous heart in this film, a few funny jokes and enough honesty to make it work. And to give Davidson a spotlight in which he does, indeed, shine.


3 Responses to “The King of Staten Island”

  1. John Greco Says:

    I’m a Pete fan too. Definitely want to see this.

  2. Cathy Brookshire Says:

    Well now I need to see this movie!

  3. The King of Staten Island | The Movie Minute Says:

    […] Read More […]

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