Comedian Pete Davidson has been lined up to be the next SNL star to get his big movie shot and “The King of Staten Island” sets him up with Judd Apatow and a supporting cast that provides everything he needs to succeed. But Davidson wanders from scene to scene of this overly long film and never shows us anything new.
Davidson plays Scott, a slacker stoner who wants to be a successful tattoo artist but struggles to evolve as his family grows while dealing with his own personal depression issues. Davidson’s family history and own personal struggles with mental illness have been well documented and he’s trying to bring awareness to it here. And that’s noble.
Sadly, his purpose seems to end there when it comes to this movie.
You never really feel anything for Scott and 137 minutes is an awfully long time wander through his life as an ungrateful jerk. He’s a hard guy to root for as he trips up his family and really fails to inspire us to feel anything for him. He’s not the guy you would want in your life. So why should you get invested in him? Davidson’s range also hurts him here and he never advances past the wandering goof you see each week on SNL accept to rattle off some deadpan sarcasm. It’s not an enjoyable experience.
What saves “The King of Staten Island” is this movie’s supporting cast and some really good writing. We miss the Apatow banter from “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” and that returns here. Marisa Tomei and Bel Powley both do great work here as Scott’s mom and girlfriend respectively. Bill Burr manages to drag Davidson’s best moments from him, if only there were more of that.
What this movie needed was more definition of what we’re expected to feel and a performance from Davidson that we don’t see on television every week.
The King Of Staten Island
Running Time: 137 Minutes