Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.
Director Judd Apatow’s best film, he does a masterful job balancing moments of sincere emotion with genuine humor, never letting the over two-hour running time lag. Davidson exceeds expectations here and while it could be argued that he is simply playing himself, his willingness to put himself under the microscope must be commended. Great support is provided by Marisa Tomei and Bill Burr, as well as Steve Buscemi who all add a degree of sincerity to the movie that holds it in good stead. The bottom-line is that we end up caring for each and every person in the film, whether it be Scott and his battle with depression, his buddy Igor (Moises Arias), who lets his friend use his body to practice his tattooing on to comically tragic results or Scott’s sister Claire (Maude Apatow) who’s wrestling with feelings of displacement. We recognize ourselves as they struggle, as King creates a sense of genuine empathy in the viewer for them, a feeling we all need to embrace right now more than ever
While I agree with Chuck for the most part, I feel that the film needed editing as it got bogged down in the middle of the story. However, it’s incredibly funny in the first 30 minutes and even with the weight of the dramatic elements, it retains an element of humor. Davidson is incredible as he tells this very personal story. “The King of Staten Island” becomes a story of hope and healing for Scott (Davidson) who has spent more than a decade spinning his wheels; no direction, no motivation, and no plan. His unique relationships with his mother (Marisa Tomei) and his girlfriend Kelsey (Bel Powley) elevates the film to a level of unexpected but appreciated reality. There’s not a weak link in this talented cast of characters who deliver a slice of life of the fire fighters and their families who will forever be affected by 9/11. Equally unexpected is how much I enjoyed the film even though it needed a bit more editing.