Review: The King of Staten Island

The King of Staten Island (2020)

Director: Judd Apatow

Writers: Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson, and Dave Sirus

Starring: Pete Davidson, Mohammad Tiregar, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, and Steve Buscemi

Plot: When his widowed mom starts dating again, a 23-year-old burnout is forced to start getting his life together.

Review: I freaking loved The King of Staten Island. I was putting it off forever because of the rather steep pricetag, but I’m glad I finally took the plunge. And, I’m actually pleased with the fact that it was a purchase, because this honestly is one of those movies that there’s like a 95% chance of me revisiting. It was that good. I just loved being part of that world for a little bit. The two hours flew by for me.

If you’ve seen any Judd Apatow movies, you kind of know what to expect with The King of Staten Island. He’s very good at working with extremely funny comedians and giving them the opportunity to create really engaging, likeable characters. And, lately, he’s been kind of giving these comedians an outlet to tell their story. The results are always entertaining. By the end of these movies, you feel like you actually got to know these characters. They’re almost like you’re friends. It’s really impressive. The King of Staten Island is no different. Pete Davison’s character is great. His friends are all lovable. His girlfriend is super sympathetic. You like his family. And, even his coworkers are people you want to be around. I feel like it’s the mark of a truly great writer to have even the 15-20th billed person in your movie be this fleshed out. And Apatow does it every. single. time. I can’t help but be a massive fan of the guy.

Speaking of which, holy crap, Pete Davidson. I remember seeing him on SNL for the first time and instantly taking note. This guy is funny. However, then the tabloids and the gossip columns started jumping all over him and I wasn’t sure whether he was the real deal. The King of Staten Island should put any arguments to bed on that one. He is extremely good in this. I knew he could be funny. I’ve seen it first hand. I just didn’t know he had this kind of range. He really sells a lot of the more emotional scenes in this movie. And, like I said, with it being semi-autobiographical, I really feel like I know him now. This turned me into quite the fan. I can’t wait to see what the rest of his career looks like.

The rest of the cast is amazing as well, of course. Bill Burr crushed it as Pete’s new father figure. Marisa Tomei was, as always, topnotch. Maude Apatow proved that she’s not just some kid that Judd throws into his movies. She’s actually a very good actress. This is the first time I’ve seen Bel Powley in anything, but she impressed the hell out of me. I wouldn’t be surprised if she becomes a massive star. And, this movie features Steve Buscemi! Who doesn’t love Steve Buscemi? The guy’s a legend. And he’s fantastic here.

Lastly, I was super impressed with how serious this movie was able to get. There’s some actually relatively intense dramatic moments. Davidson’s character is still reeling over the death of his dad and is borderline suicidal. It’s really not something I was expecting from a movie like this. There’s kind of this overall sad tone over everything. But, it doesn’t detract from the comedy either. You don’t leave the experience depressed at all. It’s just sad because life can be sad sometimes. It’s a really honest, yet uplifting look at depression. And, there’s a really important lesson on idolizing people. Everyone has faults. It’s our job to move past them, especially if they’re yours. I really love that message. And I love this movie.

So, yeah, I thought The King of Staten Island was crazy good. I might even rank it as my favorite movie of the year thus far. It’s just a really good, funny movie with excellent characters and a lot of touching moments. I’d definitely recommend it to just about everyone, but especially if you’re already a Judd Apatow or Pete Davidson fan. I think you’re really going to like it. I am and I definitely did.

TL;DR: The King of Staten Island is a really funny, touching comedy with an amazing cast led by a fantastic Pete Davidson performance.

Score: 9/10 (Awesome)

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