Stoner Movie Review: 'The King of Staten Island' Starring Pete Davidson

Born and raised on Staten Island - one of New York City's five boroughs - Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson is The King of Staten Island in Judd Apatow's new movie. 

Co-written by Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Davidson and Dave Sirus, it's a fairly autobiographical story about Davidson's life in New York that took a big hit when his father, a firefighter, died during the 9/11 rescue effort.

In the movie, Scott (Davidson) fights depression after his father dies in a building fire (not the Twin Towers). He and his friends hang out in his basement and smoke a lot of pot.

"You just sit here all day, smoke weed and jerk each other off," Scott's girlfriend Kelsey (Bel Powley) gripes.

"That sound amazing," Scott replies.

The next morning, at breakfast, his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei) asks, "Can you not smoke pot before the party?" (They're going to a family event.) "It smells bad. You smell bad. And no vaping because they're going to think it's pot."

Back in the basement, Scott passes a joint to Igor (Moises Arias). "This shit doesn't taste very good," he says.

"What are you talking about?" Igor says. "This shit is fire, dog."

"Do you really get high anymore?" Scott asks. "I don't think I get high anymore."

"I haven't been high in a while, man," Igor admits. "But I still do it. I like the lifestyle."

"Why do you think I smoke weed all the time?" Scott says. "So I can slow it down."

Pete Davidson vapes in "The King of Staten Island" while he watches "SpongeBob SquarePants.

Living in New York's most conservative and isolated borough - the Staten Island jokes are brutal - Pete has a loser complex. He repeatedly refers to himself as stupid. After a botched pharmacy robbery (he doesn't get caught), Scott moves into the local firehouse, where he volunteers.

The film's subplot involves Margie's relationship with Ray (Bill Burr), another fireman, which Scott does not approve of. Though he respects the job, Scott would prefer to ink tattoos than hose down fires. 

Like Working Girl, The King of Staten Island is about the dreams of the residents of New York's lesser borough. While it ends in Manhattan, making it there is not the ultimate goal. Finding some degree of happiness wherever you live is.

Fans of Davidson will enjoy his acting debut. He's more likeable than his SNL characters and doesn't come off as a wannabe Beastie Boy. In real life, Davidson suffers from Crohn's and uses marijuana medicinally.

Similar to Knocked Up, Staten Island offers redemption for the stoner loser stuck in a basement with his friends. At least, Scott doesn't have to give up weed to learn his lessons.

The movie also stars Steve Buscemi, Pamela Adlon, Maude Apatow, Kevin Corrigan, Action Bronson and Machine Gun Kelly. Watch it on On Demand, Prime, YouTube and iTunes.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.