Movies Mixed (Divisive) The King Of Staten Island (2020) - Review/ Summary with Spoilers

The King Of Staten Island (2020) – Review/ Summary with Spoilers

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Unfortunately, it takes “The King of Staten Island” almost an hour, out of 2, to be all that you expected and hoped it would be.


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Director(s)Judd Apatow
Screenplay ByJudd Apatow, Pete Davidson, Dave Sirus
Date Released (Digital/VOD)6/12/2020
DistributorUniversal
Genre(s)Comedy, Drama, Young Adult
Duration2 Hours, 17 Minutes
RatingRated R
Noted Cast
ScottPete Davidson
MargieMarisa Tomei
ClaireMaude Apatow
RayBill Burr
PapaSteve Buscemi
HaroldLuke David Blumm
KellyAlexis Rae Forlenza
KelseyBel Powley

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Summary

At 24, Scott doesn’t have a high school diploma, smokes weed most of the day with his friends, and seems relatively aimless. Which, in many ways, his mother Margie puts up with since Scott seems to be dealing with his dad dying, when he was 7 and has been a bit stuck in his trauma ever since. But with Scott’s younger sister, Claire, going off to college, and Margie herself ready to move on, Scott finds himself forced to grow up and deal with his issues, rather than solely self-medicate.

Cast & Character Guide

Scott (Pete Davidson)

Scott (Pete Davidson), feigning a smile.
Scott (Pete Davidson)

Brief Description

After the death of his father over 14 years ago, Scott’s life has never been the same. His dad, Stan, dying, after a roof caved in on him, caused anxiety, has led to potentially suicidal thoughts, and while Stan does have some semblance of a dream, in opening a tattoo restaurant, no one takes that, or him, seriously. Leaving him a bit stunted, enabled, and lost.

Margie (Marisa Tomei)

Margie (Marisa Tomei) dealing with her daughter leaving for college.
Margie (Marisa Tomei)

Brief Description

Scott’s mother, who is an ER and school nurse to make ends meet, and wants to be that maternal and loving mother, but Scott makes that hard sometimes. Not by being your generic ass who curses at his mom and says she is ruining his life, but because she doesn’t know how to love without enabling him. Which, for Claire, has led her to suffer.

Claire (Maude Apatow)

Claire (Maude Apatow) admonishing her brother.
Claire (Maude Apatow)

Brief Description

Scott’s younger sister, who didn’t know their father that much, which is why Scott believes she is far more normal than him or Margie. She, however, thinks that with not knowing Stan, so came less coddling and her being forced to, alongside Margie, worry about Scott beyond what he truly needed. Making the idea of going to college scary and exciting for it means she can start her own life, but now she can’t be there for Scott as she is used to.

Ray (Bill Burr)

Ray (Bill Burr) getting in Margie's face.
Ray (Bill Burr)

Brief Description

Originally, Ray is just Harold’s father, who is mad Scott tattooed his kid. However, he evolves into a friend of Scott, and love interest of Margie – after Scott tries to screw him over.

Papa (Steve Buscemi)

Papa (Steve Buscemi) at a Staten Island Yankee's game.
Papa (Steve Buscemi)

Brief Description

Ray’s boss at the firehouse, who helps Scott get to know Stan beyond the way Margie has long painted him.

Harold (Luke David Blumm)

Brief Description

Ray’s son, who loves superheroes and comes to really like Scott.

Kelly (Alexis Rae Forlenza)

Brief Description

Harold’s little sister who likes to sing and grows close to Scott.

Kelsey (Bel Powley)

Kelsey (Bel Powley) smiling and laughing with Scott.
Kelsey (Bel Powley)

Brief Description

Unlike most people, Kelsey sees Staten Island as an up and coming place. She believes it can be like different parts of Brooklyn and be the place people come to, rather than leave. Also, she’d love to be Scott’s girl, but she needs him to get serious. Not just about her, mind you, but about life.

Highlights

The Latter Half Of The Movie

After the first hour, which is an overly long introduction to Scott, his family, and where Scott is in life, things pick up. We start to really get a sense of Davidson’s humor and how he put his stank on the script, and it addresses not just Scott being stuck in life but also Margie. For what the first half of the movie presents is this idea this family has lived under the cloud of Stan, Scott’s dad, being dead. However, as Claire shows that the family can move onto bigger and better things, so can Margie and Scott could technically too.

But, again, it takes an hour for that really to click in and for you to feel the movie is actually starting and could go somewhere.

Scott’s Relationship With Ray’s Kids

There is something about the innocence of kids, if not naivety, and how they can see the good in people, even if they don’t see the good in themselves. For just by showing up and showing an interest in them, they think the world of you, and it puts a bit of a pep in your step. Case in point, when Scott meets Ray’s kids, Harold and Kelly, they are one of the first signs this film could get better.

Now, mind you, we don’t learn much about either, and Scott’s relationship with them doesn’t extend beyond walking them to school, talking to Harold about a superhero he made up and Kelly? Well, despite what the trailer may make you think, Kelly and Scott have maybe 2 – 3 scenes and conversations together.

But, what little interactions they have, it jumpstarts Scott. I’d even paint it as Kelly and Harold are probably the first relationships Scott has where someone expects something of him, and he actually tries to live up to those expectations. Thus showing him he is capable of doing so and could change, fix, or better his current platonic, and potentially romantic, relationships.

Scott’s Relationship With Ray & Ray’s Firehouse

A father’s absence is more so played up when it comes to women than men, even though the absence of a father hurts all equally. Also, usually, there is the vibe or conversation of the mom stepping in, stepping up, and taking on the role of momma and daddy. That doesn’t happen here. Margie, clearly, is not trying to overburden herself with being everything and all her kids could want and need.

However, what isn’t established, alongside that, is Stan’s former housemates stepping in to be a father to Scott, or Claire for that matter, as well. So when Scott gets over his mother moving on from his dad, and perhaps making him think he is next and connects with Ray and the men at his firehouse, you see a void filled. One that has seemingly left Scott stunted for a long time since, Margie knows only two ways to handle Scott, enable him or cut him off. So, with men like Ray and his firehouse chief, “Papa,” who present a paternal figure, and demystify who Stan was, you can see Scott catch up to where you, and everyone else, may expect him to be in life.

Criticism

It’s Takes Almost An Hour To Get Good

Let’s note a few things, paying $20 for a movie, after years of MoviePass, and then A-List is a lot to ask to us. So sitting for an hour, with a movie that is dull as all s***, was hard as hell. Particularly due to it not really tapping into Davidson’s dark humor, and in painting him as aimless, for way too long, it makes the film feel just the same.

But what also doesn’t help is no one really snags you in the first hour. Scott’s friends are the type you don’t even remember their names by the time the movie ends. His relationship with Kelsey, while cute in the second half, seems more geared toward showing Scott could pull a girl if he just made an effort. And when it comes to Margie, Claire, and damn near everyone else, again, no hook is presented. So you’re just left hoping it gets better since the movie costs too much, compared to what it would in theaters, to be bad.

On The Fence

How It Ends

Taking note you can get ending spoilers below, for the spoiler-light, version, let’s just say the movie ends on an ellipsis if not the cusp. Making you feel hopeful yet also thinking, that first hour, so much of it could have been cut to build up to, if not have, a better ending.

Overall

Would Watch Again? – One and Done

Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

The main issue with “The King of Staten Island” is it takes too damn long to get good. It drags out us getting to know everyone, even people like Scott’s friends, who aren’t that important in the long run, before it finally focuses on Scott and his growth. Hence the mixed label. I get studios, performers, etc., are hurting since they can’t work, but if you are going to price something at $20, it needs to be theater quality. You can’t put out a film that seems like it could have been a $4.99 rental on Amazon Prime for $20 and be mediocre for a whole hour.

 

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The King Of Staten Island (2020) Ending Explained (Spoilers)

In the long run, it seemed what Scott needed was someone who wouldn’t enable him but hold him accountable, give him room to discover himself, yet also make him useful and give him the means to feel useful. Hence why things changed so much when Scott was tasked with picking up and dropping off Harold’s kids.

Now, did he change overnight? No. The kids were well aware he cursed and probably that he was high most of the time as well. However, they were kids of divorce and with Ray not around as they would like, Scott was their male figure, and while it goes unsaid in the movie, I’d say he took that seriously.

Then you add in the wake-up call of his friends robbing a pharmacy, and all going to jail, alongside Margie kicking Scott out, and you see a kid who needed that safety net pulled from under him. Which doesn’t always kick someone’s ass into gear but, with Scott, is humbled him. It forced him to make amends and make friends, even if that person was Ray, for Margie had made it too easy to be reliant on her for support financially, and perhaps emotionally.

But, with Ray’s firehouse forcing Scott to grow up, while he doesn’t end the movie with a job, a paying one anyway, or his own place, he at least shows to Kelsey, his crush since 4th grade, he can be someone she can rely on. Even if it is just being supportive as she goes for her civil service exam.

Sequel Potential

The movie essentially ends as Scott just starts to have his stuff together. So there is so much that can be done between him getting his diploma, maybe taking art classes, that apprenticeship he could have done, and so much more. Never mind dealing with the fact he has now inherited two new younger siblings and how Claire might feel that he is a better big brother to them than he ever was towards her. I mean, there is so much to cover.

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Amari Allahhttps://wherever-i-look.com
I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and from movies, TV, the occasional book, play, and Broadway show, have been trying to bridge the gap between a critic and an avid lover of various forms of media.

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Review Summary

Unfortunately, it takes "The King of Staten Island" almost an hour, out of over 2, to be all that you expected and hoped it would be.
The Latter Half Of The Movie
86 %
Scott's Relationship With Ray's Kids
88 %
Scott's Relationship With Ray & Ray's Firehouse
84 %
It's Takes Almost An Hour To Get Good
62 %
How It Ends
72 %

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?