The King of Staten Island

Critics Consensus

The King of Staten Island's uncertain tone and indulgent length blunt this coming-of-age dramedy's ability to find itself, but Pete Davidson's soulful performance holds it together.

73%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 251

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,407

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Movie Info

Scott (Pete Davidson) has been a case of arrested development ever since his firefighter father died when he was seven. He's now reached his mid-20s having achieved little, chasing a dream of becoming a tattoo artist that seems far out of reach. As his ambitious younger sister (Maude Apatow, HBO's Euphoria) heads off to college, Scott is still living with his exhausted ER nurse mother (Oscar (R) winner Marisa Tomei) and spends his days smoking weed, hanging with the guys--Oscar (Ricky Velez, Master of None), Igor (Moises Arias, Five Feet Apart) and Richie (Lou Wilson, TV's The Guest Book)--and secretly hooking up with his childhood friend Kelsey (Bel Powley, Apple TV+'s The Morning Show). But when his mother starts dating a loudmouth firefighter named Ray (Bill Burr, Netflix's F Is for Family), it sets off a chain of events that will force Scott to grapple with his grief and take his first tentative steps toward moving forward in life.

Cast

Pete Davidson
as Scott Carlin
Marisa Tomei
as Margie Carlin
Bill Burr
as Ray Bishop
Bel Powley
as Kelsey
Maude Apatow
as Claire Carlin
Pamela Adlon
as Gina (Ray's Ex-Wife)
Jimmy Tatro
as Firefighter Savage
Domenick Lombardozzi
as Firefighter Lockwood
Mike Vecchione
as Firefighter Thompson
Lou Wilson
as Richie
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News & Interviews for The King of Staten Island

Critic Reviews for The King of Staten Island

All Critics (251) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (182) | Rotten (69)

  • Viewers familiar with Davidson's role as a similar good-natured yet immature loafer in 2019's Big Time Adolescence may find the typecasting unoriginal, but the fact of the matter is this: it's a type Davidson shines in.

    June 26, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The King of Staten Island is more than a run-of-the-mill genre movie. It is a brutally honest, first-person account of what can happen to a family when tragedy strikes.

    June 19, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Will Gompertz

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • In the latter half of the film, Apatow finally starts to home in on the point of his tale, and that's when The King of Staten Island becomes compelling and moving.

    June 14, 2020 | Full Review…
  • I don't feel like this is the lightning in a bottle magic that some of [director Judd Apatow's] films have been... But it's enjoyable, if too long.

    June 12, 2020 | Full Review…
  • There is a fascinating push-pull at the center of this, where Pete Davidson almost breaks out of the Judd Apatow template and makes a movie that feels interesting on its own.

    June 12, 2020 | Full Review…
  • By the end, in truth, I found myself swamped by Scott, and wondered if he might have made more impact as a secondary character...

    June 12, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The King of Staten Island

  • Jul 05, 2020
    TATTOOED LOVE BOY - My Review of THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND (4 Stars) By now, we all know Judd Apatow makes long movies. With the right script, premise and actors, however, you may find yourself having a great time basking in his universe. He takes his time, allows for breathing room, and essentially makes mumblecore movies on a larger scale. Call it Jumbocore. With his latest, The King Of Staten Island, co-written by Pete Davidson and former SNL writer, Dave Sirus, Apatow has combined the classic hangout movie with elements of romcom, family drama, and a lot of heart. Davidson stars as Scott, an unemployed young man who lives with his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei),and younger sister Claire (Maude Apatow) in a modest Staten Island house, and spends most of his time in the basement playing video games and getting high with his friends. His father, a firefighter, died tragically when he was younger, and this contributes greatly to Scott's suicidal ideation, which we see in the opening scene. On a good day, Scott seems quick to outbursts or worse, tuning out the world. Even the most casual fans of Davidson will recognize the autobiographical elements at play here. Scott has vague dreams of opening a tattoo parlor/restaurant, which I'm sure sounded like a terrible idea when they wrote the script, but in light of our current situation, worsens exponentially. One fateful day, he attempts to ink a minor, which draws the ire of the kid's father Ray (Bill Burr) to Scott's door. Enraged and spitting bile at Margie, Ray, a local fireman, initiates undoubtedly what we'll call a meet-not-so-cute. What little story this shaggy film possesses lies in the machinations which bring Scott to Ray's firehouse to ostensibly learn to adopt a healthy work ethic and confront the demons from his past. Of course, this being a Judd Apatow film, the story goes off on many tangents, including a visit to his resentful sister who has just left home for college. Scott also has been having a quiet fling with his lifelong friend Kelsey (the gifted Bel Powley from The Diary Of A Teenage Girl) and also gets involved in a pharmaceutical caper with his pals. Under normal circumstances, I would call it all a bit too much, but thanks to a screenplay which doesn't try too hard to deliver constant zingers and an alive, honest, soulful performance by Davidson, I loved hanging out with these characters. Unlike Apatow's previous work, this film, while often very funny, benefits from staying grounded in Scott's mental health issues instead of insisting on a gag-a-minute pace. Davidson proves himself as an engaging, thoughtful, unpredictable actor who keeps you guessing his every move or reaction. It's impossible not to love this "loser" because when he tries, he connects so beautifully with others. I especially loved his sweetness with Ray's kids, holding their hands as he walks them to school and shows genuine interest in their lives. National treasure, Tomei, also brings so much warmth and vitality to what could easily have turned into the stock Mom character. Smart, observant and nobody's fool, Tomei milks one great scene after another for all they're worth, especially when she dresses down Ray and Scott for fighting or when she hilariously refuses to take Scott back into her house. In my fan fiction version of the production, I imagined Powley approached Tomei to tell her she was basing her character on Tomei's Oscar-winning My Cousin Vinny role. While not as broad, Powley's Kelsey has that extra New Yawwwk oomph and spunk to ring similarly delightful bells. Burr, best known for his standup comedy, also makes a strong, vibrant showing as an angry guy who needs to be nicer to Scott if he wants to stand a chance with Margie. Steve Buscemi, in a small but effective role as the chief at Ray's fire station, seems to exist to make us like Scott more, but that doesn't take anything away from Buscemi, a former firefighter himself, from giving a relaxed, generous appearance. What I love about Apatow's work is his ability to mine the pain buried beneath the surface of comic actors. Steve Carell, Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer have all benefited from surrendering themselves to Apatow's aesthetic. It also helps that Apatow has hired cinematographer Robert Elswit to give the film an unfussy but living, breathing look. Same goes for Kevin Thompson's production design, which displays a keen awareness of what those Staten Island homes really look like. While nothing earth-shattering, The King Of Staten Island moved me to tears, because it works so hard to welcome the Scotts of the world into the fold and to gently nudge them into finding their purpose. Scott bobs and weaves a lot, simultaneously sincere and diabolical at times. Witness the tattoo reveal on the back of one of our main characters for a specific example. Apatow doesn't tie things up into a neat little bow at the end, preferring to end things abruptly but perfectly in tune with the rhythms of his sweet, slightly lost, yet ultimately beautiful main character.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2020
    It's an interesting film that so closely follows the development of its lead character: as he drifts so does the film, but as he begins to bring things home the work does as well. Pete Davidson kinda surprises as the mouthy prick with a right to be maladjusted deciding to straighten himself out. The supporting cast does their part too, ably not tolerating his continual shit in this well written piece that, like Woody Allen's work years before, has as its backbone a love affair with New York. I'll admit to waiting a minute for this one. Now I'll admit that that was a mistake.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2020
    The King of Staten Island is a strong return for Judd Apatow and a strong lead performance for Pete Davidson. There is the early moment feeling this was going to copy the Knocked Up style humour but Apatow shifts this into something raw and unconventional. I wouldn't be lying when I say this is my favourite Judd Apatow film and it's this indie style film-making that demonstrates there is much more to his career. Davidson is the central performance and this is his film to carry from the beginning. I haven't seen Big Time Adolescence yet but the critical acclaim from that film has clearly identified Davidson as a future talent to watch and that's evident in The King of Straten Island. The film is a character study and a welcome removal from the usual Apatow Hollywood cameo style film-making. I really enjoyed the film and I hope it finds an audience at home and away from the box office. 01/07/2020
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2020
    The King of Staten Island is a semi-autobiographical vehicle for its star and co-writer, Pete Davidson. He plays Scott, a shiftless young twenty-something bumming through life and trying to find his sense of self as a wannabe tattoo artist. His father was a fireman who died on 9/11 and his mother (Marissa Tomei) has just started dating a new man (Bill Burr), also a fireman, and that triggers Scott, who fights to sabotage his mother's new relationship. I've never been impressed with Davidson from his fleeting appearances on Saturday Night Live, but I genuinely enjoyed him here and, yes, the character is a natural fit with his awkward, sarcastic, deadpan sensibilities. It's another in director Judd Apatow's style of loping big screen comedy, so we have many scenes of hanging out with friends and reprobates, with Scott trying different things to get a better concept of what he wants to do with his life. It's a movie that coasts on the good feelings with the characters and their easy camaraderie. However, from a plotting standpoint, The King of Staten Island could have used more at the end and less in the middle. It's only the last 40 minutes or so where Scott moves into the firehouse, which seemed like a more central focus from the advertising. The abrupt conclusion left me on a note of, "Oh? Okay." The movie is already an unwieldy 137 minutes long, so there was plenty of hanging out moments that could have been trimmed to better position the actual personal triumphs and character resolutions. Some of the payoffs don't exactly feel earned either. Scott's wants to keep things casual with a woman he sleeps with (Bel Powley) and uses his mental illness as the excuse, and she says she deserves better, but then they just end up together and it doesn't feel earned or like Scott has learned how to be a better boyfriend. It's like Apatow is saying, "Oh, yeah, and he got the girl. The end?" I would put this on par with 2015's Trainwreck, though that film has a more clearly defined character arc, but both serve as fitting vehicles that play to the strengths of their individual comedians. I enjoyed the overall mood, I laughed, I enjoyed the various vignettes of the fun supporting characters. I wish there was a bit more shaping with the plot and a more fitting conclusion, but The King of Staten Island allowed me to enjoy Davidson as a performer. That's a triumph for a guy I didn't care much for prior to this moment. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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