Pete Davidson is a comedian, comedy-writer, a star on Saturday Night Live, and an actor that is one-of-a-kind. In Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island, Davidson delivers a witty, lethal, and charming performance that is probably one of the best comedies I have watched during this pandemic. I saw Davidson do stand-up live which made me an even bigger fan. I find that his humor and character traits make The King of Staten Island a heartfelt film that many fans will cherish.
The film focuses on a man in his mid-twenties named Scott (played by Davidson as himself). The character has struggled with addictions due to his habits of experimenting with drugs and smoking weed which help him get by due to the mental health and anxiety issues he has faced for years. His struggles are impacted by the fact that his father died when he was a young boy. His mom, Margie, and his sister, Claire (Marisa Tomei and Maude Apatow), feel that Scott needs more motivation in his life, but with his altered mind-set he keeps becoming distracted. While he has artistic skills as a solo tattoo artist and wants to open a tattoo business, he still lacks many skills to achieve that goal and become successful. Scott has no filter in conversations, is negative without realizing it, and prone to making poor decisions based on his lifestyle which includes consistently smoking weed.
Davidson is so true to this movie because it is based on two real aspects of his own life. His father was a firefighter and died on 9/11 when Pete was young. Also, the film takes place in Staten Island which is where he grew up. The film is faithful to those two elements and Davidson is brave to perform a role based on heavy issues that he has faced in his own life. He has never been afraid to be fierce by turning despair into hope for himself. Many will see that in his stand-up comedy, his Saturday Night Live performances, and in The King of Staten Island. In this film, he makes the conflicts revealing, but then also features joyful resolutions.
I loved The King of Staten Island. It is the perfect role for Pete Davidson. The fact that Tomei and Apatow play key roles makes it even more special. They both have charming personalities that add light humor to the film’s subject and the concerns around their son and brother. Davidson’s character does a fantastic job at always finding excuses to not be successful. In the absence of Tomei and Apatow, the film is would not be nearly as inviting and would leave the audience wondering if there would ever be positive outcomes to the crazy scenarios created by the hysterical mindset of Davidson. I give The King of Staten Island four stars.