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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'The King Of Staten Island' Review: Pete Davidson Kills Time In Judd Apatow's Millennial Comedy

Bel Powley and Pete Davidson sitting
Universal Pictures

Taking in consideration the unfortunate times that some films just simply have to deal with, something like The King Of Staten Island is a painful reminder about how most comedies yearn for a big audience in one room. Experienced filmmaker Judd Apatow directed it so you do feel the moments when there’s time for a big laugh or time to sense a character’s outburst of emotions. We follow a semi-biographical story of Pete Davidson who stars as Scott, a 24-year-old tattoo enthusiast who lost his firefighter father as a kid, doesn’t have anything going on in his life and suffers from depression amongst other things. And yes indeed, it is in fact a truly funny comedy that often shows flashes of promise.

Apatow and Davidson co-wrote the script with Dave Sirus so even before the first image pops up, you’d expect it to work since Apatow has written impressive word soup before. Comedy is in his wheelhouse, as well as Davidson’s whether you enjoy his type or not, and ‘Staten Island’ does win you over the most with its casual delivery of dialogue and sharp jokes that are a part of that instead of being just throwaway lines. With all that dialogue you also get a lot more double entendres in those jokes than generally in studio comedies in recent times. Davidson doesn’t overdeliver in a role that’s basically himself which is often the downfall but his partner-in-not-crime Bel Powley (as Kelsey) really takes the spotlight in their shared scenes, I would’ve actually loved to see more of her featured.

You often hear complaints about the editing and length in Apatow’s films and while I also have a bone to pick with it here, it’s not that I hated my time with the characters. The problem is that the amount of time the story takes doesn’t warrant the runtime, however if more time had passed in Scott’s and others’ lives, then the length wouldn’t be an issue. There are individual scenes that needed cutting or rewriting, especially since the film never goes for the most interesting things. For the first hour I was really feeling like this could be the comedy of the year, as it mashed the funny with seriousness and pain. There are things like suicidal tendencies, addiction and unresolved trauma that drive the jokes but the resolution awkwardly opts in to unnecessary side quests and sudden changes in character.

Smileys: Dialogue, humour, Bel Powley

Frowneys: Runtime, pacing

Is this review ever going to end? I mean, I could just keep going. Editing isn’t even all that important, why do they even give major awards for that? Even editors themselves are honestly the wo…


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