Skip to main content

#Jumanji Welcome To The Jungle Holding On Strong

Kings Of Summer Review. Is Nothing New, But It's Strange Vibe Is Worth A Mention

Kings Of Summer Review
By: MattInRC

Kings of Summer is nothing new, but its strange vibe is worth a mention.

Coming-of-age films seem like a dime-a-dozen these days: The Way, Way Back, and the much better Moonrise Kingdom are only a few of the seemingly endless efforts to cash in 80's classics like The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, and Better Off Dead. Add a new player to that field in The Kings of Summer, a comedy that's restless, slightly engaging, and weird in its treatment of teenage male unrest.

The teenager Joe (Nick Robinson) is tired; he and his recently-separated father Frank (Nick Offerman) are just not connecting. Their game night of Monopoly turns into quest for power in the home, leaving Joe embarrassed and angry at Frank's gravitas. On the way back from a outdoor party with third-wheel oddity Biaggio (Moises Arias), the two stumble upon the perfect place to build a cabin. It's quiet, removed from society, and the perfect place to hide from unsympathetic and uncaring parents. Joe's best friend Patrick (Gabriel Busso, Super 8) can't wait to escape the demands of his 'helicopter parents,' and soon the trio construct their own Fortress of Solitude using outhouse doors and wood from a building site. While Joe's friend Kelly (Erin Moriarty, The Watch) promises to keep the location a secret, a love triangle soon forms around her, Joe, and Nick while Biaggio plays jungle explorer, camouflaged chipmunk, and Kung-Fu dancer. As the parents struggle to find their children, the boys soon learn that being masters of your own destiny does come at a price.

To say Kings is strange is probably giving it too much credit, but there are scenes that reminded me of the old Fox Television show Parker Lewis Can't Lose, with its imagined conflicts, odd camera angles, and quirky almost psychotic co-stars. Biaggio is hilarious as the oddball who seems to exist in another world. The problem is this goofiness is marked by a much deeper story about teenagers finding themselves, which doesn't jive at all with what's really a series of funny vignettes by two-dimensional characters. And while the disconnect shared by our two sets of parents is enjoyable, they do nothing to further the story. We honestly don't feel for them as they fruitlessly search for their children; and when they return home, we're not happy for them. This surely isn't Superbad and perhaps newcomer Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts didn't intend for it to be; but when you can emerge from a theater able to quote other titles which have done this formula better, it's hard to support the one you just watched.

Roberts does paint a pretty picture, basking our teenagers in soft greens and browns and making us think if only for a moment that anyone could survive in the great outdoors. But it's screenwriter Chris Galletta who fails to close the door on the deal by forgetting to bring those warm heartfelt moments of self-discovery in line with the strange comedic elements that permeate nearly every scene. The hidden gem here is Arias, whose Biaggo is as odd an oddball that we've seen this year. He alone keeps this movie afloat comedy-wise, but in doing so helps to cheapen the whole reason why the trio leave their homes in the first place. It would have been so satisfying to learn why these kids feel such strong emotions of disconnect with their families rather than to be filled up with pretty pictures and funny interludes. Had Summer set its sights a little higher, we could have had a new Breakfast Club. Robinson and Basso are good young actors who aren't terrific here, especially when it comes to a couple of serious moments. Their growth by film's end feels out of place, with no consequences for their running away, and a new relationship that actually creates a love triangle whose resolution is two boys nodding at each other as the credits roll.

Like eating your favorite comfort food, you will emerge from The Kings of Summer with a warm, happy feeling. And just like those meals that remind us of our youth, those memories will soon fade away, replaced by needs of something more substantial in your movie diet. The Kings of Summer is rated a surprising R and has a runtime of 93 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

Please Leave A Comment-


Popular posts from this blog

NEW Clip From SABOTAGE And Images From Surprise Screening

Things get heated between Arnold and his team in this tense new clip from SABOTAGE. This brand new clip shows how pressure begins to rise between this elite DEA squad, as everything starts unraveling after a big drug bust. From the writer of Training Day and the director of End of Watch, this thriller will have you guessing until the end. Get to the bottom of this mystery on MARCH 28th- but until then, be sure to watch the new clip below.

This past weekend Arnold Schwarzenegger gave fans a BIG surprise at the annual ARNOLD SPORTS FESTIVAL, where he and Joe Manganiello met with fans at a special screening of SABOTAGE! Just after that, the dynamic duo headed over to Chicago for another surprise appearance.

SABOTAGE hits theaters everywhere MARCH 28th, 2014!

In "SABOTAGE", Arnold Schwarzenegger leads an elite DEA task force that takes on the world's deadliest drug cartels. When the team successfully executes a high-stakes raid on a cartel safe house, they think their work i…


From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.

Directed by Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee based upon the beloved novel by Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” stars: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peňa, Storm Reid, Levi Miller and Deric McCabe with Zach Galifianakis and Chris Pine.

Discuss this with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms

Please Leave A Comment-

Danny McBride stars as Dundee’s Son In Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home

It seems legit but also comes off as a parody.

Crocodile Dundee is back. Well, actually, he’s missing in the Outback. And the only person who might be able to find him is the loudmouthed American son no one knew he had. Introducing Danny McBride as Brian Dundee. This son of a legend is forced to channel his Aussie roots as he embarks on the ultimate adventure in the land down under.

It’s time to live up to the family name.”

Discuss this with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms Please Leave A Comment-