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It's been few and far between when it comes to new movies these days. The vast majority of big screen projects have simply pushed off their release to a later date to wait for the day those theaters are open again. A handful of movies, however, have decided to skip the theatrical experience and go straight to homes, releasing on digital platforms. Judd Apatow's new movie, The King of Staten Island, is the latest to make this switch, and if nothing else that looks to have been a good decision, because it means we're getting a pretty good movie sooner than we otherwise would.
For the most part, reviews of The King of Staten Island are solid, if not over the moon. CinemaBlend's own Sean O'Connell gives the movie three stars and says that, while it's not the laugh out loud movie you might expect from Judd Apatow, it is an emotional one, thanks to the nearly real life story which the movies tells.
Davidson’s personal tragedies provide most of the dramatic detours in King, making for a cathartic movie that might not be as funny as you’d expect.
The King of Staten Island follows Pete Davidson in the role of Scott, a young man who's father, a firefighter, died in the line of duty. Scott hasn't really been able to grow past that in the ensuing years. He's a man-child whose personal growth has been stunted, making him a pretty normal Judd Apatow protagonist. However, the plot is very much based in reality as Davidson's own father died on September 11, 2001.
And Davidson gives a surprisingly nuanced performance as Scott. This isn’t the “self-deprecating, yet cool” persona he, mostly, does on “Weekend Update.” Davidson lets his guard down for this role and, in turn, delivers something pretty great.
All of Judd Apatow's films have been a blend of comedy and drama, though some have played with the exact formula of those two concepts. The King of Staten Island is certainly a more dramatic film than it is a comedy, and that's where Forbes believes the movie works best, wondering if perhaps it should have left the comedy entirely off the menu.
The notion of mixing big laughs and a big heart is less of a novelty than when Apatow first “arrived” 15 years ago, and if anything you get the feeling that Apatow would prefer that this picture be closer to a straight drama. It’s not exactly a laugh riot, but it works as a compelling and engaging character play.
Total Film, actually takes things a step further, feeling that ultimately The King of Staten Island fails to properly balance the drama and the comedy, producing a film that does neither particularly well. It's one of the film's clearly negative reviews, though even it stops short of calling the movie bad.
It’s not even a terrible film; there’s just very little to warrant a recommendation. There are low-key laughs, but as a comedy it’s no gutbuster; there are a handful of nicely observed character moments, but none of the catharsis you’d expect from a drama reckoning with sacrifice and legacy.
Overall, the response to The King of Staten Island is pretty positive. Co-stars Bill Burr and Marisa Tomei are also being praised in the film for their performances. And to some extend it's just good to have a new movie to discuss. The King of Staten Island arrives on Digital platforms Friday.