Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr
Release Date: August 25, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
From celebrated comedy director Judd Apatow and starring Saturday Night Live breakout Pete Davidson comes a bracing comedy about love, loss and laughter on Staten Island.
Inspired (at least partially) by the life of SNL star Pete Davidson, ‘The King of Staten Island’ tells the story of Scott (Davidson), a man in his mid-20’s who lives at home in Staten Island with his mother and spends his days getting high with his friends and trying to realize his dream of becoming a real tattoo artist; begging his friends to let him practice on them. But when a poor decision leads to a new man dating his mother, Scott can’t help but be troubled when he learns that the man is a firefighter considering that he lost his father (also a firefighter) to the job during his childhood. Before long the changes happening all around him force Scott to adapt which will require stepping out of his shell, but he just might truly find himself in the progress.
Directed by Judd Apatow (Trainwreck, The 40 Year Old Virgin) from a screenplay that he also co-wrote along with Pete Davidson and Dave Sirus (Saturday Night Live), Apatow does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘The King of Staten Island’ guiding along the hilarious fun with a perfect balance that allows it to be as moving as it is funny. The film also benefits from a cast that features numerous talented individuals and includes Pete Davidson (The Jesus Rolls), Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Far From Home), Bill Burr (The Front Runners), Bel Powley (TV’s The Morning Show), Maude Apatow (Assassination Nation) and Steve Buscemi (TV’s Miracle Workers) along with many more, the majority each offering capable if not impressive performances for the most part in their respective roles, particularly Davidson who is magnificent in the lead, exceeding expectations every step of the way and displaying some real talent.
‘The King of Staten Island’ is fantastic, a touching and hilarious exploration of one man’s journey to find himself as everything familiar around him begins to change and he must decide how to handle it. It does a great job of finding a fitting middle ground between the emotional content and the laughs and manages to keep you laughing consistently throughout its duration while never allowing the humor to detract from the more serious content and the heartfelt manner in which it’s approached. The film is inspired in many ways by the life of Pete Davidson himself who similarly lost his own firefighter father which allows for a more realistic and in depth look at the struggles of this character. I must admit that I wasn’t hugely familiar with much of Davidson’s work prior to ‘The King of Staten Island’ although he’s appeared in many things briefly over the years and I was curious to see how he would do in a lead role of this sort. Impressively, he only exceeds expectations, proving that he clearly has some real talent when it comes to acting and with the help of the talented Judd Apatow at the helm the film evolves into something incredibly special. If you’re already even the slightest bit intrigued by this one I would strongly encourage making a point of checking it out, chances are that it won’t disappoint.
Overall, ‘The King of Staten Island’ is a wonderful and powerful film loaded with heart and hilarity. It’s a moving story of one man’s struggle to find his path in life when everything around him suddenly begins to change that balances the heart and humor perfectly in order to move you one moment and then have you laughing hysterically the next. ‘The King of Staten Island’ is highly recommended, especially for any fans of Judd Apatow and/or Pete Davidson along with anyone who is a fan of raunchy comedy films with some real heart at their core who should all find a great deal to appreciate about this one. It’s a hilarious and incredibly touching film that’s definitely worth going out of your way to give a chance and should also prove well worth the cost of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The King of Staten Island’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and offers a clean, smooth and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish that never suffers from any unexpected issues or flaws along the way. It holds up impressively even during the various darkly lit and heavily populated moments, never allowing anything that’s occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that shouldn’t have any trouble pleasing fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack makes a splendid compliment to the onscreen fun and provides a crisp, clean and at times quite aggressive audio presentation throughout. It takes advantage of all seven available channels whenever appropriate in order to send music, crowd chatter, vehicle and nature elements along with plenty more throughout the various speakers on numerous occasions, while never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a great Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that holds up nicely throughout and never falters or disappoints.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The King of Staten Island’ is absolutely jam-packed with bonus content that should keep fans entertained for some time. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director/Co-writer Judd Apatow and Actor/Co-writer Pete Davidson’, in addition to ‘2 Alternate Endings (Which Didn’t Work)’ (running approximately 4 minutes in length combined) and some ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 15 minutes altogether), plus a ‘Gag Reel’ (approximately 6 minutes) and a ‘Line-O-Rama’ (5 minutes). We are also treated to numerous Behind the Scenes Featurettes and Videos that include interviews/comments and video calls with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and much more. They include: ‘The Kid From Staten Island’ (running approximately 19 minutes), ‘Judd Apatow’s Production Diaries’ (approximately 32 minutes), ‘You’re Not My Dad: Working with Bill Burr’ (5 minutes), ‘Margie Knows Best: Working with Marisa Tomei’ (3 minutes), ‘Friends with Benefits: Working with Bel Powley’ (4 minutes), ‘Sibling Rivalry: Working with Maude Apatow’ (4 minutes), ‘Best Friends: Working with Ricky, Moises, and Lou’ (4 minutes), ‘Papa: Working with Steve Buscemi’ (3 minutes), along with ‘Friends of Firefighters Stand-up Benefit’ (approximately 6 minutes), ‘Scott Davidson Tribute’ (5 minutes), ‘Who is Pete Davidson?’ (3 minutes), ‘The Firehouse’ (3 minutes), ‘Pete’s Casting Recs’ (3 minutes), ‘Pete’s “Poppy” (Grandpa)’ (2 minutes) and ‘4 Video Calls’ (approximately 21 minutes combined). The ‘Official Trailer’ (approximately 2 minutes) for the film is also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
‘The King Of Staten Island’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment