The King of Staten Island is big on heart but short on laughs (in comparison to Train Wreck and 40-Year-Old Virgin), but that’s not a negative. I like that there are only a few over-the-top moments. The laughs occur as a way to break up the seriousness of the story. It balances drama and comedy perfectly.
Just as a warning, the movie runs for almost two hours and twenty minutes. It feels long in the same way The Irishman feels long. I could say that they could have trimmed off a few scenes. But those extraneous moments work to build and support the character arcs of the leads, such as the moment that Scott is left at the fire station and approached by a man with a severe stab wound.
“…Davidson was clearly born to play Scott…because it’s his life…”
The film also works because of its cast. Pete Davidson was clearly born to play Scott. And not just because it’s his life, but also because he’s natural, authentic, and endearing in the role. If you’ve ever been turned off by Davidson on SNL, he may well earn your respect back here.
Once again, Apatow has his supporting cast loaded with comic veterans you didn’t know could do drama, along with up-and-coming youth needing that one big chance. Burr plays a sweeter version of his gruff stand-up persona, and his “Hulk Hogan” mustache is a brilliant touch. Marisa Tomei is great because she’s Marisa Tomei. Steve Buscemi is always a welcome addition to any movie, and here he is Ray’s co-worker at the station—the veteran, who served with Scott’s father.
If you’re old like me, the millennial shenanigans at the start of the film might turn you off slightly, but stick with it. The King of Staten Island is worth watching for its sentiment, and for the last time, Pete Davidson can ever play the man-child role in a movie.
"…big on heart, but short on laughs, but that’s not a negative"