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Many people are turned off by the controversial Pete Davidson and I was one of those people until I started watching many of his TV interviews that brought light onto his real life, upbringing, and authentic personality. He is actually a likable dude that had a difficult upbringing due to a tragedy that occurred at 7 years old when his firefighter Dad died in service during the September 11 attacks. The only other movie I have seen Davidson in the lead role was a movie called Big Time Adolescence which I really enjoyed and recommend watching on Hulu.
In The King of Staten Island Judd Apatow directs Saturday Night Live breakout, Pete Davidson, in a bracing comedy about love, loss, and laughter on Staten Island. Scott (Davidson) has been a case of arrested development ever since his firefighter father died when he was seven. He’s now reached his mid-20s having achieved little, chasing a dream of becoming a tattoo artist that seems far out of reach. As his ambitious younger sister heads off to college, Scott is still living with his exhausted ER nurse mother (Marisa Tomei) and spends his days smoking weed and hanging with the guys. When his mother starts dating a loudmouth firefighter named Ray (Bill Burr), it sets off a chain of events that will force Scott to grapple with his grief and take his first tentative steps toward moving forward in life.
This movie is not your typical Judd Apatow flick and compared to his other pieces of work it sits as an outlier. It is a humorous character study that allows Pete Davidson to shine as his authentic self and prove that he is ready to leave SNL. It is an eye-opening, honest, and sincere movie that is loosely based on Davidson’s actual life. Comedian Bill Burr who is featured heavily throughout makes a strong case to be cast more frequently in future movies with his strong performance and the always lovely Marisa Tomei hits another “mom role” out of the park. It helps that this film is extremely fresh and original but I feel that its lengthy runtime and having a more enjoyable first half hurts it in the long run, as it is far more comedic than the second half that goes full drama and ends on an awkward note.
I give The King of Staten Island a 7/10 and recommend making sure you have ample time to sit through the whole movie since it sits at 2 hours at 17 minutes.