Posts Tagged ‘Judd apatow’

Marisa Tomei, Pete Davidson


136 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Viewers who make it to the third act of “The King of Staten Island”  will find that this Pete Davidson starrer actually has a heart beneath its smarmy exterior.

Getting to that point, though, is a slog.

Directed by Judd Apatow (according to the credits, anyway…there were moments when I wasn’t sure anyone was in charge) and co-written by “SNL” star Davidson as a tribute to his fireman father who died on 9-11, “The King of Staten Island” is a comedy/drama that never really satisfies on either count.

When we first meet Davidson’s Scott Carlin, the 24-year-old is in his mother’s car speeding down a freeway with his eyes closed.  Maybe it’s a suicide attempt; in any case, like just about everything else in Scott’s life, he manages to screw it up, doing more damage to bystanders than to himself.

Scott is instantly recognizable as a variation on the stoner/slacker persona that is Davidson’s trademark character on “Saturday Night Live,” a dopey guy who has the emotional and intellectual range of a pet gecko. The difference this time around is that we’re supposed to see him as a damaged individual as the result of losing his fireman father at age 7.

That’s the backstory.  In the present, though, Scott  comes off as ignorant, maddeningly self indulgent and given to Adam Sandler-level eruptions of anger.

He’s got a girlfriend (Bel Powley) who soon has had enough of him.  He lives on Staten Island with his widowed mother (Marisa Tomei) and a younger sister (Maude Apatow) who, by virtue of having been too young to experience the trauma of losing her dad, is now a beacon of normalcy.

Scott hangs with a pack of meat-headed, pot-fried friends from high school (Ricky Velez, Lou Wilson, Moises Arias) who are devoting their lives to chilling,  video games and singularly inept criminal enterprises.

Scott frequently behaves like an utter asshole (attempting to practice his nascent tattooing skills on a grade-school kid), which makes it all that much more difficult to root for him.


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Amy Schumer, Bill Hader...terrified by romance

Amy Schumer, Bill Hader…terrified by romance

“TRAINWRECK”  My rating: B- (Opening wide on July 17)

125 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Amy Schumer, the hottest thing in comedy right now, makes a largely effortless transition to the big screen in “Trainwreck,” a dirty-minded laughfest with a warm fuzzy heart.

In addition to starring with Bill Hader, Schumer also wrote the screenplay.  Judd Apatow directs, and is usually the case with his efforts (“This Is 40”, “Funny People”), the results often are scattered and overlong.

But the mere presence of Schumer onscreen and the pervasiveness of her uniquely biting-bitter-bawdy comic sensibility makes “Trainwreck” a keeper.  It’s more like a collection of sketches than a narrative whole, but when you’re laughing this hard it’s hard to complain.

Things get off to a wonderfully sarcastic start with an opening scene from the childhood of Schumer’s character, Amy.  Amy and her little sister Kim are being told by their philandering father that the family is breaking up.  Dad (Colin Quinn) is a glorious sleazebag who asks his little girls how they’d feel if they were told they could only play with one doll for the rest of their lives.

“They’re making new dolls every year,” reasons their reprobate father.

The moral of this father-daughter meeting: Monogamy is unnatural.

And that’s a philosophy the grown-up Amy embraces. She chugs drinks and puffs pot. She’s a bit of a slut.  She sends her boy toys home after sex — no all-night cuddles.

She works for a scuzzy/hip men’s magazine.  Amy’s editor (a nearly unrecognizable Tilda Swinton) is a vampirish Brit beauty whose indifference to everyone save herself is breathtaking — and that attitude is reflected on the publication’s pages: “You’re Not Gay — She’s Boring.”  “A Guide to Masturbating at Work.”


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