Judd Apatow’s newest film, The King of Staten Island is proof that Pete Davidson has what it takes to be a top tier comedian and actor. This film delivers tons of laughs while also being very heartfelt (something a lot of comedies these days never seem to merge). Between the amazing performances from Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, and the rest of the cast, this comedy, on the verge of falling apart from the weight of its length, holds together and presents a fantastic comedy about moving forward.
The King of Staten Island presents a story that very much mirrors Pete Davidson’s actual life. For those who are not aware, Davidson’s father was a first responder to 9/11 who lost his life. This movie mirrors that with Davidson playing Scott, named after his dad, a man in his twenties who lives in his mom’s house can’t get his life together because when he was seven his father died while fighting a fire. This loss caused many mental and emotional hardships on Scott and to make it all come to a head, Scott’s mother, played by Marisa Tomei, begins dating another firefighter, played by Bill Burr.
The cast is incredible in this, and not just because of their thick New York accents. Every performance in the movie brings more and more heart throughout the movie. Normally in movies like this, not all characters have a chance to stretch their comedic chops, but The King of Staten Island, every single character has a chance to shine. I cannot overstate this enough, Pete Davidson is incredible in this movie. One could argue that he’s so good because he was playing himself, which fair and valid, but never before have I seen Davidson in such a comedic high, particularly when alongside Bill Burr or Moises Arias.
The only real cripple to this film is the length. Comedies in general really shouldn’t exceed the 1 hour and 45 minute mark. The King of Staten Island is 2 hours and 15 minutes and the length is felt. It’s not that the comedy diminishes or the story rambles on. There were just a lot of scenes that carried on way too long, or scenes that just didn’t need to be in the film at all. Despite really enjoying the film, the lack of trimmed fat left me exhausted. I think if they spent a few more days in the editing room, this film could have easily been trimmed down 20-30 minutes and made for a much more palatable product.
The King of Staten Island is the must see comedy of the summer—not sure if that statement really means anything seeing as theaters are still closed, but I digress. The performances by the entire cast are stellar and the laughs don’t stop coming. Between the laughs and the heart behind the story, I think this is a film to put on your queue.
The King of Staten Island is rated R for language and drug use throughout, sexual content and some violence/bloody.