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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

The King of Staten Island (MA) - 137 minutes

The more I saw, the more I enjoyed The King of Staten Island.

It’s all about a heavily tattooed, 24-year-old dope smoker Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson – Trainwreck), with attention deficit disorder, a bad attitude and low self-esteem, who lost his father when he was seven.

Let’s face it, by almost all measures he is a loser.

He has a younger, go-getter sister, Claire (Maude Apatow – This is 40), who has just graduated from high school and gone off to college.

He lives with his mother, Margie (Marisa Tomei – My Cousin Vinny), an attractive woman who is an ER nurse.

This is a guy who doesn’t pretend to be normal and hangs out with low rent friends.

Carlin does outrageous things like thinking nothing of tattooing a nine-year-old kid, Harold (Luke David Blumm in his first film role), who has just come across him and his mates.

Surprise, surprise though, among his inner circle is a childhood female friend, Kelsey (Bel Powley – The Diary of a Teenage Girl), who he went to school with who digs him, but he doesn’t consider himself worthy of her.

And then the father of the kid – Ray (Bill Burr – Date Night) – he tattooed starts dating his mum.

Ray is a fireman, just like Carlin’s old man was, so you can imagine how that goes down.

The story is based upon the life of the film’s lead, Davidson.

When he was a boy growing up on Staten Island, his father – firefighter Scott Davidson – died while responding to the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001.

Not surprisingly, Scott’s death had a huge impact on his son’s life.

With that background and with his distinct comic sensibilities, Davidson (Saturday Night Live) is the perfect actor to play such an anti-establishment figure.

He exudes a natural, dry sense of humour in portraying the layabout.

Tomei has spirit and heart as the mother who, try as she does, finds it difficult to control her wayward son, who says and does what he pleases.

In fact, all the key characters are well drawn with big personalities.

The film is imbued with director Judd Apatow’s (The 40 Year Old Virgin) left of centre humour from start to finish.

Still, The King of Staten Island lurches from zany to more conventional, romanticised fare as Carlin undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts.

Apatow wrote the piece alongside Davidson and Davidson’s SNL colleague Dave Sirus.

At 2 hours 17 minutes, the movie is long but enjoyable.

Rated MA and also featuring Steve Buscemi (Fargo), as a fire house colleague of Ray, it scores a 7 out of 10.


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