Judd Apatow is known for discovering young talents, taking them under his wings and pointing the camera at them. Like Seth Rogen in Knocked Up, Amy Schumer in Trainwreck Lena Dunham with the TV series Girls. We have him to thank too much, but not the large number of slacker films about a tiring male child type that it is difficult to arouse interest in again and again. The King of Staten Island with Apatow's new favorite Pete Davidson is another such.
Scott (Davidson) is 24, lives at home , drives around and lacks both consequence thinking and a job. The firefighter's father died in the line of duty (a sad experience Davidson himself shares with his character). Scott therefore has no one father figure in his life, someone who can tell him to pull himself up. It is not enough for his mother and sister to do so.
When the mother joins Ray (Bill Burr), the first man in her life since she became a widow seventeen years ago, Scott reacts like a child. He becomes jealous and wants to sabotage. It's an hour into the movie. Then there are over 80 minutes left of Scott's self-pity and a series of strange, unnecessary scenes like a robbery attempt that goes awry.
The highlight of the film is Steve Buscemi who is in the picture for a total of five minutes as a refined fire station manager who knows how to deal with young people on the slide (Trivia: Buscemi has been a real firefighter, in New York).
A main character does not have to be sympathetic, it can be exciting to push the boundaries of audience sympathies. Take Amy Schumer's character Amy in Trainwreck. She is a hard-working, immature and selfish person who completely lacks insight into how closeness works. But she is also charming, funny and tender, you want to see how it goes for her.
Judd Apatow has an ability to make his loser characters lovable, after all. Scott, on the other hand, is not a bit engaging, in fact really uninteresting. The people around him, such as his mother (Marisa Tomei) and sister (Maude Apatow) shine much brighter and unlike Scott, you wish them well.
That's the biggest problem. The second is that the film can not decide whether it is a comedy or a drama, so it will be neither or. Except during the film's last (and best) twenty-five hot dramatic minutes when Scott, hearing and amazed, realizes that independence and being part of a community can be both evolving and satisfying. Wow.