Focusing on Scott Carlin, a 24-year-old young man who still lives with his mother and sister. The father who works as a firefighter died when the tragedy of 9/11. Not finishing school, Scott just played around and smoked marijuana every day. But he aspires to open a restaurant as well as a tattoo place.
Everything changed when his mother was approached by another firefighter, Ray. Scott looked for ways to separate his mother from Ray, including digging his ugliness from his ex-wife Ray. When the relationship between Mom and Ray snag deteriorated, he was eventually kicked out of the house so he had to stay at the fire station with Ray. And all that changed his life.
The King of Staten Island is a personal project from Pete Davidson, better known as a stand-up comedian (and ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande). Most of the stories are inspired by his personal life. Even about the figure of a father who worked as a firefighter and his youth life.
The plot is centered on Scott, ranging from family, friends, to Kelsey which he considers only ‘friend-with-benefits”. The story becomes more touching when entering the middle of the story. Where Scott began to learn about the responsibilities and undergo the figure of a firefighter when living with Ray.
It’s just that Apatow seems confused bringing the tone of the story: into the realm of comedy or showing the dramatic side of a 24-year-old youth who wants to find his true identity. Though the first scene opens with Scott driving with his eyes closed. But the tension and seriousness are not seen again throughout the story.
A linear plot like other semi-autobiographical films is still a mainstay. Most of the stories and emotional developments in the film feel superficial. Some scenes and changes in Scott’s character are not so obvious. Is it because Pete doesn’t really want to show more in the true ‘Pete Davidson‘ character?
An honest semi-biography?
Pete Davidson is known as a stand-up comedian and starred in the Saturday Night Live comedy show “co-authored the script and acted as a producer. Likewise with Judd Apatow, a reliable filmmaker who has directed dozens of comedy genre films such as Trainwreck.
So don’t be surprised if many people think that this film will be filled with comedy elements. But all that is wrong. Although there are some comedy parts, the film The King of Staten Island focuses on Scott’s journey which is a representation of Pete Davidson’s life story.
Pete looks more personal, though still in a proud style in the story. Even in his stand-up comedies, Pete often mentioned how he lost his father figure at a young age, precisely in the September 2001 attacks in New York. The bad thing is, Pete looks like it’s no different from the original character.
Many characters come and go like complements in Scott’s life and are wasted. Though other characters have their respective strengths. Like Marisa Tomei who had to struggle to raise her children or Bel Powley who lived his own dream.
The King of Staten Island is an honest film that shows the other side of Pete Davidson with a more serious role. But inequality and confusing tone make this film fail to reach its greatest potential. Just being honest without a lot of effort doesn’t always seem satisfying.