MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The King of Staten Island’ – Long, But Not Fulfilling
It's like you're waiting for a resolution that, ultimately, would never come to fruition.
Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers, but not a lot of them because I don't feel like my questions were actually answered.
We'd been looking forward to this movie for about a month now - we're both Judd Apatow fans (Knocked Up, This Is 40, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Pat is an avid fan of Pete Davidson from Saturday Night Live.
Personally, I thought that Pete was over-hyped until I saw this movie. He never really impressed me on SNL; however, I knew his backstory, and I think that this is part of the problem with The King of Staten Island.
In real life, Pete's father, Scott, was a New York firefighter who died on 9/11; he has also openly struggled with his mental illness and still lives at home with his mom. If you didn't know these two things, I almost feel like the movie might have been more enjoyable. Maybe, because I knew these things, I was expecting more; I'm not sure.
In the movie, Pete's character Scott (a nod to his father) Carlin is dealing with "coming of age" without his father, who died in a fire when he was younger. His sister is going off to college, and his mom has started dating for the first time since becoming a widower. So, where does that leave Scott? He's got a job as a busboy, he smokes a lot of pot and he's got some shady friends. What's next?
When this movie is over, you'll want to give Pete Davidson a hug. His acting is superb, and the story is clearly autobiographical. The movie also packs in the star factor (as most of Apatow's films tend to do) with Bill Burr, Steve Buscemi, Pamela Adlon and Marisa Tomei filling out the lead roles.
But, other than the list of stars that act in the film and the empathy you have for Scott, the film stops delivering right there.
There are a LOT of cooks in this kitchen, but not many entrees to show for it. Quite a few of the film's storylines start and then abruptly end. So, if you like things wrapped up in a bow, this isn't the movie for you.
And if you're expecting a witty, fast-moving Apatow-esque comedy, this isn't the movie for you, either. There are some funny lines but, overall, the film is slow-moving. It's like you're waiting for something that never happens - we paused it at the one-hour mark and couldn't believe that we were halfway through the story already.
It should've been a touching film, and it was...to a point. Part of me feels like Apatow thought he could get by with a mediocre story (Pete's story could've been so much more than this) with big-name actors, and it just doesn't deliver.
It's not meant to be a fast-paced comedy, but the pace could've been picked up a bit. Then again, a lot of Apatow's films are just a tad too long.
Overall, it's a feel-good, "love letter" to Pete and his mom, but I feel like it could've been more than that. It's worth a watch; maybe wait until the price dips down from $20.