'King of Staten Island': Critics differ on Pete Davidson's 'heartfelt' or 'half-baked' film
What are critics saying about Pete Davidson's semi-autobiographical movie "The King of Staten Island"? The film has a 77% positive rating on aggregate site RottenTomatoes as of Monday afternoon, and reviews range from calling the film "heartfelt" to "half-baked."
Directed by Judd Apatow and starring and co-written by Davidson, the R-rated "The King of Staten Island" is available to stream on iTunes, Vudu and FandangoNOW starting June 12. It follows Scott (Davidson), an immature 24-year-old dealing with the loss of his firefighter father (a story inspired by Davidson's own) and aspiring to become a tattoo artist.
So, should you watch it? That depends on whether you already like the youngest and most-parodied cast member of "Saturday Night Live," and if you're interested in a raunchy yet emotional and lengthy viewing experience. ("Staten Island" has a 136-minute run time.)
USA TODAY film critic Brian Truitt gave the film a thumbs up and praised the "Saturday Night Live" star's impressive acting chops.
"Davidson infuses Scott with palpable depth underneath the laid-back slacker surface," Truitt writes. "What Davidson does that is remarkable in the new movie is show his range as a performer while also letting us in a little bit more on who he really is and opening up about struggles with trauma and mental health."
Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers deems the film "one of the year's best."
In his words, the movie is a "hilarious and sneakily heartfelt raunchfest" that creates "a comic knockout with an emotional punch you do not see coming."
Indiewire's David Ehrlich considers the latest movie of Apatow's about arrested development his "best film since 2009’s 'Funny People.'"
He writes that Davidson has a "compulsively watchable screen presence," and that while "Staten Island" might not be an instant cultural touchstone, the "sweet film crystallizes the feeling of being too scared to escape your own shadow."
But Us Weekly's Mara Reinstein has a less rosy review of the movie, which she describes as "half-baked."
She writes, "It’s as if (Davidson's) waving his heavily inked arm and saying to his fans, 'Sorry, kids, there’s nothing to see here.' "
The new 'King' of Hollywood? Pete Davidson lends jokes – and real depth – to 'Staten Island'
What else should you watch? 10 must-see new movies to stream while stuck at home this summer