King Of Staten Island (Video On Demand)
Starring Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, Steve Buscemi
Directed by Judd Apatow
Rating: *** (3 stars)
I have a confession to make. love the cinema of Judd Apatow. It is nifty, knowledgeable, funny and sad, all at the same time. This time in King Of Staten Island, Apatow’s ‘hero’ is Scott, an unlikely lanky loose-limbed youngster with no ambitions worth talking about. Well, he does want to be a tattoo artiste while his dead father was a legendary fireman on Staten Island, the laconic location where the film serves up its appetizing dish which at first appears to be junk food but eventually proves itself fairly nutritious.
There is a sassy appeal about any story of a drifter finding his bearings. But this one is particularly endearing. Pete Davidson looks nothing like the boy that your daughter can bring home to her mother for dinner. He is scruffy, impolite, upstartish and, well,to cut a schlock story short, good for nothing.
Scott’s journey would have been a corny cliché if the screenplay didn’t look beyond the obvious signposts to peek into the inner world of a father-less bloke who doesn’t know what to do with his life until his mom brings home a boyfriend.The dramatic tension between Scott and his mom’s lover Ray(Bill Burr) is at once devastatingly funny and revealing.
It’s a love triangle with a difference, rippling with a risible rotundity. Muscled with mirth and armed with and anger, the film keeps you hissing happily to the end.
The scenes of stress between the son and Mom’s BF are impeccably written to spotlight the two overgrown boys’ determination to prove the other a villain.While both the male actors Davidson and Burr are delightfully pugilistic, it is ‘Mom’ Marisa Tomei who steals the show . Tomei, a terrific actress in the best of times, brings a kind of wisful wackiness to her single mother’s role. No selfpity here, but loads of assertive parenting.
You will love Tomei when at one point she throws both beta and boyfriend out of her home and shares drinks and laughter with a female friend instead. You will love the air of jaunty joy that this wonderfully constructed coming-of-age drama constructs and its wicked sense of humour in a sequence like the one where Scott goes to his soon-to-be stepdad’s ex-wife to dig up dirt on him.
She gives him dirt all right. But the ex-wife also tells Scott why a certain part of her ex-husband’s body makes her forgive all his trespasses.
Life’s like that. Sometimes it gets hard.