Last year during the pandemic was not the time to release theatrical films, as is evident by Judd Apatow’s dramady “The King of Staten Island”, which earned a measly $2.2 million off of a $35 million budget mostly through VOD sales, as theaters were closed for much of the year. With “Godzilla vs. Kong” pulling in admiral earnings, it looks like 2021 is a little brighter, and will most likely reward studios that chose to delay films from last year.
“The King of Staten Island,” however, is a pretty decent film. It stars Pete Davidson as Scott Carlin, a 24-year-old high school dropout who wants to be a tattoo artist, who unintentionally pairs firefighter Ray Bishop (Bill Burr) with his mother, Margie (Marisa Tomei), when he tattoos Ray’s son at the beach. Scott has a dislike of firefighters, as his father was one who died trying to save someone during a fire, and he blames his father’s absence for a lot of his personal issues. Scott’s sister, Claire (Maude Apatow), served as a neutralizing force to his craziness growing up, but the film soon sees her go off to college, leaving Scott at home to clash with his mother and Ray.
Davidson and Burr are the leads in this film, and they have great comedic energy, as Davidson is quippy and sarcastic, and Burr is over the top and sardonic, and their fights have real consequences with their relationship to Scott’s mother, which reaches a breaking point in the film.
There is some real heart to this film, especially as Scott learns things about his father, who was a local legend, he never knew about through Ray, who in a way serves as a surrogate father.
The film also has a pretty solid supporting cast with the likes of Steve Buscemi and Moises Arias, though the focus is clearly on Ray and Scott’s relationship.
“The King of Staten Island” is a very funny movie about growing up, appreciating family and being comfortable in your own skin while acknowledging and working on your issues. And Davidson and Burr hit it out of the park.
“The King of Staten Island” gets a 9/10