The name 'Judd Apatow' is quickly associated with mindless layers of crude humour that follow his directed movies. '40 Year Old Virgin' and 'Knocked up' flashes images of scripted foolishness. We know then, that his newest flicker 'The King of Staten Island' was bound to reflect drugs, sex and endless rule breaking for the adolescent characters. The trailer sets your gut for experiencing some unnerving giggles, with a story about Scott, a 24 year old spending his afternoons inhaling dope and sketching his friends biceps in Staten Island.
Apatow choose a fresh outlook on this comedy, instead of reflecting the hidden emotions of a teenage boy, he decided to open up to Scott's depression starting the film with the protagonists attempt at suicide. Crippled by the death of his father working as a fire fighter for 9/11, actor Pete Davidson plays Scott's idiomatic expressions and attitude towards his family brilliantly. Turning to his friends for fulfilment, the story reflects upon a harrowing message that a handful of young boys diverted to crime without a steering father mentor. Actress Marisa Tomei portrays the single mother for the picture flawlessly. Her nurturing and caring persona works perfectly whilst she dates Ray, fitting comedically with Scott's protectiveness.
Starring actress from 'White Boy Rick' Bel Powley performance is mesmerising as the love interest, flipping between rage and desire, her talent is impeccable. Seeing her relationship with Scott blossom slowly by his affecting mental health left the audience in high spirits towards their final giggling scene. The female characters, including the fiery sister played by Judd's daughter Maude Apatow, are respected against the men throughout the movie; applauding a new era against misogyny within American comedies. Between Pete's mother kicking him out on the street and girlfriend Kelsey not taking him in as her booty call, there's a clear message of superiority between the women on screen that elevates the drama.
The King of Staten Island (Amazon)
It's an achievement that the story brushes on moments of depression from Scott losing his dad, but there still isn't backbone and realisation of the situation for him to reflect on. As the relationship with Ray developed towards the credits, and he started to lift his motivation by witnessing other peoples happiness, the director could have circled in on scenes of Pete alone coming to terms with the pain.
Awareness around mental health for young men has risen substantially in the last five years, and the director successfully owns up and challenges these feelings. Grief is starting to become a momentous placard in films, even within comedies. With a soundtrack featuring Lil Wayne and Kid Cudi, the audience flows along in the movie to Scott's life, waving to the beats inside his creative brain. It's a truly entertaining and cleverly written drama that balances young rebelling with nurturing development.