A decade ago, you were barely able to turn around in a theater without seeing Judd Apatow’s name attached to something. The filmmaker had established himself as the mogul of modern Hollywood comedy having been involved as either the writer, director or producer of The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers, Anchorman and Bridesmaids.
With that sort of ubiquitous presence, it seems a little surprising that Apatow has only directed six movies in total, and just three in the last decade. As well as taking a more hands-off role in recent years, the 52 year-old has also been making a conscious effort to approach his material in a more serious fashion, as evidenced by the heavy dramatic elements involved in both 2009’s Funny People and 2012’s Knocked Up spinoff This Is 40.
Apatow’s first directorial effort in five years was originally scheduled for a theatrical release before being sent straight to VOD as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, and after becoming one of the most-rented titles across virtually every platform it was available on, The King of Staten Island is poised to find a whole new audience now having landed on Amazon Prime today.
Leading man Pete Davidson also co-wrote the script, which incorporates some autobiographical elements into the story of a mid-20s washout who tries to get his life back together, with the 26 year-old star winning rave reviews for his first dramatic acting performance. The King of Staten Island may be superficially similar to much of Apatow’s previous output, but the finished product is clearly the work of a much more confident and mature director who finally seems poised to leave the gross-out gags and frat boy humor behind for good.
Without a doubt, the comedy-drama is one of the most little-seen and underrated movies of the year so far. As such, if you haven’t yet checked it out, be sure to catch it on Amazon Prime now that it’s streaming on there.