A Universal Picture, Written by Judd Apatow, Dave Sirus, Pete Davidson, Directed by Judd Apatow.
Until this year I’d not particularly been a fan of Pete Davidson, but after his surprisingly good Netflix special from a few months ago, and now this very strong film, I think it’s clear he’s a real talent with a big future.
It’s well known that Davidson’s dad was a firefighter who died in 9/11 and that has effected his life ever since, and this film, which is based on Davidson’s like thematically but changes some details, beautifully dissects the real impact losing a parent at a young age can have.
There is examination in the film about the people who become firemen (and other high risk professions) and whether they are selfish in having families due to the risk of them never coming home one day. I won’t spoil the direction that conversation goes, but it’s very mature and even better as it features real like fireman Steve Buscemi (who even returned to the job to help in 9/11).
Despite it being a studio comedy, the film features some great cinematography that makes it really stand out, and the whole film feels so authentic to its Staten Island location, which really adds to the impact of the film.
In the lead role, Davidson brings a real mix of actual pain and real humour, and feels like one of the most truly genuine characters I have seen on screen in a long time. It’s clear this story is very personal to him (he co-wrote it based on his own experiences) but from a solely acting point of view he is also excellent, delivering some of the funniest one-liners I’ve heard in a while and also nailing the emotional beats. I think he could be the next major film star to break out of SNL.
The whole supporting cast is superb; with Bill Burr proving to be a strong dramatic actor, Marisa Tomei getting a bit more of a chance to let loose than she has previously had, and Bel Powley bringing real energy and presence to her scenes.
It was amusing having Maude Apatow (daughter of the films director Judd Apatow) and Pauline Chalamet (sister of Timothy Chalamet) play friends here but both, especially Apatow, do genuinely good jobs.
This is a long film (a comedy being over 2 hours is rare) and some have called it meandering, but I feel it uses the time well to dive into the characters and tell I really heartfelt and at times truly hilarious story.
This is Judd Apatow’s best film (arguably his first mainstream movie that is more drama than comedy), a huge moment for Pete Davidson, and is genuinely one of the best films of the year so far.
Rating = 4.5/5