The King of Staten Island
The Rolling Stone hailed this film as ‘Heartfelt and hilarious’. Heartfelt, sure. Hilarious….huh? Hmm? Eh? What?
King of Staten Island is a character-driven, autobiographical piece co-written by the lead actor, Pete Davidson. It explores death and loss and how it can affect family. Tattoo parlour on legs, Scott (Davidson), has not coped with the loss of his fireman dad. He now uses that as an excuse to loaf about, procrastinating, smoking pot, and generally being an enormous man child. Much like Scott, the film doesn’t really want to address the issue or themes of the film to a great extent. Instead, it sort of just… ambles along, addressing it fleetingly every now and then. For over 2 hours.
One of the first notes I made was “Prediction: Scott will lose everything, then sort his life out”. Well, SPOILER ALERT, Scott loses everything and then sorts his life out – *falls asleep on keyboard* oghisfiohviohg/filiGRNKL?RghkHI:r/gtfbnfm vccguggghghgftydmdydjd
*Snorts, awake* Woops, sorry. I know, I know. It’s autobiographical, it’s probably how it turned out. And I’m sorry that someone had this happen to them. But, and this is a big but (Stop it!), your audience shouldn’t be able to correctly guess the outcome of your plot within the first 10 minutes or so. It’s a well-known formula that has been used many times before. Loser stuffs up, loses everything, turns their life around, gets what they needed all along – that’s a wrap, send it to Post.
‘Yeah, but you’re a screenwriter, Jimmy. You know all that filmy stuff-‘ What, you mean Set-Up and Pay Off, and Conflict and Resolution? Yes, I know all that “stuff”, but that doesn’t make me some sort of literary Dr Strange, able to wave my hands about and suddenly know the conclusion to every story. A story shouldn’t be predictable, even if it is heartfelt and all that other bollocks. Point made. Moving on.
Saying this film is dialogue-heavy would be like saying ‘water is slightly wet’. Be prepared to watch a lot of conversations *dozes off again, slides off computer table, hits head on tree*. Fuck! And while you may be wondering why there is a tree in my office (Don’t judge.), I was left wondering when the ‘hilarity’ would begin. The film tries to mix a heartfelt story with quite dark, sardonic humour – doesn’t sound easy, right? For me, the humour was just a bit underwhelming. If we had more to watch, maybe more subtle physical comedy, it would have been more entertaining. It’s film. Show, don’t tell… I just didn’t find it that funny.
This film is heartfelt though, and that is its strength. It’s hard not to like Scott, especially when he is interacting with the kids. And Bill Burr puts on a pretty good performance. The Bill Burr anger is there, but he gives a versatile grumpy performance.
All in all, I have to give this film a resounding ‘Meh’. It’s not terrible by any means. It’s just 30 minutes too damn long. And not funny.
Rating: R16 Restricted to persons 16 years and over. Violence, offensive language, drug use and sexual material.
GEEKERY rating: 2/5