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IN REVIEW: ‘The King of Staten Island’ highlights a standout performance by Pete Davidson

Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Pete Davidson stars in Universal Pictures’ ‘King of Staten island” directed by Judd Apatow.

“The King of Staten Island,” a comedy-drama film directed by comedy guru, Judd Apatow, shines a light on the life of comedian and actor, Pete Davidson through a semi-biographical picture. Davidson delivers a standout role as a fictionalized version of himself in which he highlights the issues he deals with day-today. 

Due to COVID-19, the film was released by Universal Pictures ondemand on June 12 for a rental price of $19.99, skipping its movie theater release that was set to occur in June. 

“The King of Staten Island” revolves around Davidson’s character, Scott Carlin, as he struggles to find himself in Staten Island, New York. Carlin is unemployed, hangs around with troublesome friends, and deals with medical problems such as Crohn’s disease and ADHD.  

Davidson has dealt with medical and mental health problems himself, as he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and borderline personality disorder 

In the film, Carlin copes with the death of his father, a firefighter who died responding to a hotel fire when Carlin was just 7 years old. Davidson’s father was also a firefighter, who tragically died in service during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacksAs an aspiring tattoo artist, Carlin’s work is inconsistent. Still, he wishes to achieve his dream while those around him, such as his sister Claire, played by Apatow’s daughter, Maude Apatow, try to persuade Carlin to choose a different career path.  

The film does an exceptional job at showing how one’s life can be consumed by personal issues that have not been resolved 

Academy Awardwinning actor, Marisa Tomei, who stars as Carlin’s mother Margie, conveys an essential relationship between a mother and her son, who are both dealing with grief and looking for a way to move on. 

Davidson, who is known for his role on the popular television show “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) and comedic stand-up specials, takes a big step into the acting world with his soulful performance in “The King of Staten Island.”  

Several scenes in the film are remarkable and showcase Davidson’s acting abilities, as his comedic strengths are replaced by vulnerability and his portrayal of his real-life problems and path to healing.  

In his role on SNL, Davidson appears in a limited number of sketches, so seeing him in this leading role may have some people feeling skeptical of his abilities as an actor before viewing the film.  

 Davidson previously starred in the 2019 Hulu film “Big Time Adolescent,” which is another comingofage film where he delivers an exceptional performance. The film has an 84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is highly recommended for those who enjoy “The King of Staten Island.”  

While “The King of Staten Island” is a bit long, coming in at two hours and 16 minutes, the captivating storyline along with Davidson’s excellent blend of comedic personality and notable dramatic scenes, will have the audience glued from start to finish. 

The rental price also comes in a bit high, considering the rental can only be viewed for 48 hours, but in reality, the same amount is often spent on one trip to the movie theaters after purchasing a ticket and other items such as popcorn and drinks.  

“The King of Staten Island” is a film that will skyrocket the acting career of Davidson and have viewers clamoring for more films from the rising star in the future.  

5 out of 5 picks

Isaiah Ramirez may be reached at [email protected]


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About the Contributor
Isaiah Ramirez is a senior multimedia journalism major at the University of Texas at El Paso. Isaiah has worked for the university’s paper The Prospector since Spring 2018 and has held the position as a sports editor and is currently a reporter at the publication. During the fall semesters he also works as an on-air reporter for Football Friday Nights a weekly radio show showcasing local football games broadcasted by 600 ESPN El Paso. He covers local news as well as local and UTEP sporting events such as football, men’s and women’s basketball, and has covered the annual Hyundai Sun Bowl game and two-time NBA champion Danny Green’s basketball camp here in the Sun City.
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IN REVIEW: ‘The King of Staten Island’ highlights a standout performance by Pete Davidson