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Posts Tagged ‘Pete Davidson’

Marisa Tomei, Pete Davidson

“THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND” My rating: C (Available June 12 on Video on Demand)

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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John Turturro

“THE JESUS ROLLS” My rating: C+

85 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The lavender-loving, sexually ambiguous bowling fanatic Jesus Quintana appears for only five minutes in the Coen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski.”

But “the Jesus” — portrayed by John Turturro with machismo-spewing relish — apparently has enough of an enduring fan base that 22 years later we get “The Jesus Rolls,” a sort-of toss-off sequel written and directed by Turturro.

Basically this is one big criminal road trip.  Jesus (Turturro, naturally), recently released from prison, is met by his old buddy Petey (Bobby Cannavale) and together they go on a car-stealing spree, accompanied by a soundtrack of furious flamenco guitar.

Along the way they explore the joys of three-way sex, first with a ditzy hairdresser named Marie (Audrey Tautou…yes, “Amelie”) and later with an older woman portrayed by Susan Sarandon (more of that later). There is a fair amount of nudity…much of it involving the two leading men’s derrières.

The tone here is one of comic goofiness fueled by Jesus and Petey’s bone-headed banter.  Nothing even vaguely resembling a plot emerges; what we get is a series of vignettes, at least one of which is quietly heartbreaking.

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