The King of Modern Comedy – Judd Apatow – teams up with The King of Staten Island, Pete Davidson (Saturday Night Live, What Men Want) for a semi-autobiographical comedy about Pete Davidson’s life. The term comedy is used loosely; despite a handful of belly laughs and a generous serving of chuckles, the story – like Pete Davidson’s upbringing – comes with a heavy helping of tragedy.
Throughout his tenure on SNL, and during his recent Netflix stand-up special Alive From New York, Davidson talks openly about losing his father at a young age. Scott Davidson was a firefighter who lost his life saving lives during 9/11, and Pete pays homage to his father immediately and touchingly by naming the protagonist “Scott”. There is an acute focus on the mental health of the main character, which is always refreshing to see in a major studio release, as is the nod to Davidson’s Crohn’s disease, which, despite the crude humour surround that particular scene, highlights an important and often ignored disease.
Judd Apatow described The King of Staten Island as an exploration of what Pete’s life would have been like if he hadn’t found success in stand-up comedy, and it follows a struggling Scott as he attempts to navigate his way through adulthood with mental health issues and the unresolved grief from the death of his father.
The film is enhanced with stellar performances from the supporting cast of Marisa Tomei, Steve Buschemi, Bill Burr et al, and is sprinked with some fun cameos from rapper Machine Gun Kelly and Pete’s real-life grandfather, Stephen Davidson.
All in all, it’s a heart-warming comedy-drama with an indie feel to it that seems unusual yet fitting for this Apatow directed hit. Some may feel that it’s slightly too indulgent coming in at 2.5 hours, but it’s definetly intriguing enough to keep you invested.
If You Liked This Film, You Might Like: Trainwreck, Funny People, Love
Joe Blogs Film Rating: 4/5