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The King of Staten Island

The King Of Staten Island

Ever since his dad died in a firefighter incident, Scott's life hasn't managed to go anywhere. He spends every day smoking pot and talks about opening a tattoo resturant (but never follows through on it), plus has a case of ADD and Crohns disease. He also has to take care of his mother by himself when his sister goes away for college. But one day a seemingly minor event changes everything...

Besides Judd Apatow's brand of humor, I didn't know what to expect from this film. Not a lot of interesting movies were playing in theaters, so I thought I might as well give this one a chance.

I had never seen Pete Davidson in anything before this, but after his performance in this film I won't forget him. While at first Scott doesnt seem like much more than a crazy manchild, I really started to feel affectionate for the guy after a while. You laugh at his inappropriately timed comments and shortsighted decisions, but Davidson also portrays how his impulsive behavior makes him doubt his own selfworth, that maybe he's too stupid to ever reach any higher.

The conflict that stirs up after his mom (superbly played by Marisa Tomei) hooks up with a new boyfriend doesn't feel cliché in any way. You understand Scotts worry once he learns he's not only someone he got off with on the wrong foot, but is also a firefighter just like his dad. His stubborn inability to give him a chance to the fear of going through another loss or the idea that she goes for the same type just as a vain replacement for his father feels justified.
We're shown Ray doesn't think highly of him either, judging by the conversation with Margie where he dismisses the tattoo resturant concept and thinks he'll never amount to anything. The fact that she doesn't even defend her son is even sadder, like there might be some truth in what he says.

Since I mentioned Ray, I should also talk about Bill Burr. Even though his face looked familiar, not once did I recognize that was him since he completely disappeared into the character. He walks the line between likable and kind of arrogant, which is hard to pull off, but he manages to do so perfectly.

But while the movie does get heavy, it's also hilarious much of the time. Not just Davidson, but also Burr, Tomei, Pamela Adlon, Steve Buscemi and the actors playing Scott's friend circle get moments to shine in terms of comedy. At times silly, other times deadpan, the humor always feels natural to the characters and progression of the story. It feels very "hangout" in terms of tone, where you are just observing these people sharing laughs and poking fun at each other. Additionally, there are times where it can get uncomfortable and funny at the same time, most of those momens owed to Davidson.

Apatow's daughter Maude does a very good job as Scott's sister Claire. She's kind of a regular in his films, but this is her most memorable part so far.

Does the plot take expected turns? Sure. Every relationship gets a happy ending, everyone gets along in the end (except for Ray and his ex-wife Gina) and even Igor's potential catfish girlfriend is actually real. But none of that matters as long as you're having a good time, which I definitely did.

The King Of Staten Island isn't Apatow's most serious film (that would be Funny People), but I do think it's his most sincere. Whether you know who Pete Davidson is or not, I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a good laugh along with engaging characters.