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Review: The Kings of Summer

Updated: Wednesday, June 5 2013, 04:15 PM CDT

By Ken The Critic @kenthecritic

Grade: C

On the heels of becoming the official selection at this year's Sundance Film Festival, The Kings of Summer finally hits theaters. Coined as "Stand By Me" meets "Superbad" by some reviewers, I believe it is neither, especially the latter. It feels almost like an extension of "Where The Wild Things Are" where Max has now become a teenager and is still restless in his life, but I digress. Nonetheless, first time director Jordan Vogt-Roberts gives us a coming-of-age story of three guy friends who take a hold of their destiny.

In The Kings of Summer, Joe Toy (Nick Robinson) is a teenage guy who is so tired of his life. He hates that his single father, Frank (Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman) butts into his life and tries to control every single aspect. When his dad embarrasses him by grabbing the phone out of his hand when he is talking to Kelly (Erin Moriarty), the girl of his dreams, and takes over the conversation, he decides to take his life by the horns and move away. He encourages his best friend, Patrick, whose parents are completely opposite of Frank to the point that they were born and raised in Stepford, to go out in the woods with him and build a house. And that's just what they do, along with a misfit kid named Biaggio. Now they are the masters of their domain, but does it make them happy? 

I think if I didn't go into this movie expecting this generation's "Stand By Me," I would have found it to be something more spectacular. There was so much going on in "Stand By Me" and outside of these guys just wanting to really be out of the house a couple of years before they are supposed to be and building this house, there's not much more here that is profound. The buzz is that Moises Arias portrayal of Biaggio is this decade's McLovin, but in my eyes, he stands alone. Biaggio didn't make me think of McLovin. He added so much comic relief to the film that otherwise would have been really dull. Arias was captivating and made his character magnetic.  

There is a unity here and believe me, there are definitely some poignant moments here that will make "The Kings of Summer" memorable. In the film, there's a really magical moment when Joe realizes that Kelly has made a connection with Patrick. He is lying in the bed in the dark with his eyes open and there's a time lapse and without a blink, his eyes are still open when the sun rises. Jordan Vogt-Roberts using this time lapse to somehow create a stillness for you to feel Joe's heartache. It is a great moment in cinema that takes you back to that time in your life.

To check out the trailer:

Ken's Movie Review Grading Scale

A - Superb and solid; a movie that will be etched in your mind 10 years from now

B - Good movie, so good in fact that you would want to see it again before it’s out of the theaters; the story may drag in places

C - Average, entertaining at parts; you might want to wait and rent it

D - Lacks a lot from entertainment, plot, realism, development, etc.

F - Terrible and you will want to walk out of the movie; no redemptive qualities whatsoever   Review: The Kings of Summer

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