5.5/10 In honor of writer/director Judd Apatow’s latest film, “The Bubble” recently hitting Netflix (review coming soon), I thought I would look back at his most recent film, 2020’s “The King of Staten Island” which went straight to VOD due coming out in summer of 2020, in the midst of the China Virus. This movie is very much an Apatow movie, for better and for worse. On the positive side, the emotional moments all feel genuine and real, probably because this movie is inspired by Pete Davidson’s life, so elements ranging from his fire fighter father’s death to his Crohn’s Disease are all included to varying degrees in the movie. Davidson co-wrote the movie so his finger prints are as much on the movie as Apatow’s are. The dialogue is well written as each character feels like a real person and we do get some nice character development and character arcs. The relationship between Scott (Davidson) and Ray (Bill Burr) especially stands out as it evolves and changes throughout the movie. Scott’s struggles are relatable for many adults in their mid-20s who don’t yet have their lives together and lack motivation to make positive changes necessary for growth as an adult. The supporting cast is fantastic and I loved that they included Steve Buscemi in the cast since he was a New York firefighter before he got his big break in acting and even assisted on 9/11 at Ground Zero. As for what didn’t work, Apatow has this movie clock in at almost 2 hours and 20 minutes, which is typical for his movies. If the film is hilarious like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, you can get away with a longer film since you are laughing from start to finish. Yet here, this movie only has a couple of laughs so you feel every second of the run time and a solid half an hour should have been cut from the movie to tighten things up. Seeing stoners getting high, sitting on the couch, watching TV and playing video games is something that most of Apatow’s movies have but when the movie runs this long, it becomes unnecessary, especially when the laughs are few and far between. For a leading man, Davidson’s performance is uneven. He is surprisingly strong during the movie’s emotional moments but during other, more comical scenes he comes off as a little over the top, like he is doing an SNL skit. Apatow has complained about nepotism in politics which is ironic since he pretty much sticks his wife and/or daughter(s) in every movie he makes these days and while his daughter appears in this movie, she completely disappears in the final act and we don’t get a strong closing scene between her and her brother Scott like we do with Scott and his mother (Marisa Tomei). There are also some references to “The Office” and “Game of Thrones”, which would have felt dated years ago so now they come off even worse. Pop culture references rarely age well so the ones included felt forced and weren’t funny or relevant. Finally, while there is only one scene of actual firefighting, the explosions definitely look and feel staged and unnatural to what a real building fire looks like, but seeing as how Apatow doesn’t direct action films with fires and explosions, this makes sense. In the end, while I appreciated the screenplay’s realistic dialogue, characters and development, the movie takes too long to get there and has far too few laughs to justify the longer running time. Despite even more nepotism added, let’s hope “The Bubble” offers up more laughter than this.

#ThisIs40MinutesTooLong / #InkDisaster / #FIsForFireFighter / #LeanOnPete2 / #TakeAPotScott / #LockedUp

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s