Mix of Napoleon Dynamite & Stand By Me
The Kings of Summer is a unique coming-of-age comedy about three teenage friends Joe Toy (Nick Robinson), Patrick Keenan (Super 8’s Gabriel Basso) and the eccentric and unpredictable Biaggio (Moises Arias) — who, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.
Free from their parents’ rules, their idyllic summer quickly becomes a test of friendship as each boy learns to appreciate the fact that family — whether it is the one you’re born into or the one you create — is something you can’t run away from.
Joe, 15, finds himself increasingly frustrated by his widowed father, Frank’s (Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman) who has forgotten how excruciating it might be for an adolescent boy to have his father tell the girl he loves (Kelly, played by Erin Moriarty) that he can’t talk now, because he’s grounded and has to go to bed at 7:30. Patrick’s dorky, overbearing parents (Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) would test the patience of the Dalai Lama.
After his latest clash with his father and sneaking out of the house to go to a party, Joe stumbles onto a clearing far off the beaten track on his way home. He convinces Patrick and their tag-along comrade Biaggio, a freak who speaks almost exclusively in cryptic non sequiturs, to build a house there, free from responsibility and parents. Buying and pilfering materials, they build a ramshackle wood cabin with a porta-potty front door. Once their makeshift abode is finished, the three young men find themselves masters of their own destiny, alone in the woods. Luckily, there’s a Boston Market on the edge of the woods.
Their friends even come to visit them — including Kelly. But while Joe is consumed by his crush on her, she makes a play for Patrick, sending the two boys’ friendship over the edge.
How many heels does it get?
The Kings of Summer is Napoleon Dynamite with a touch of Stand By Me. Sure, you may leave the movie finding it difficult to believe that three boys can live in the nearby woods for a month without anyone finding them, but The Kings of Summer quickly establishes its absurdity to the point that you forgive the holes because you’re having too much fun watching it. It’s similar in the way you’d suspend your disbelief while watching an old-school National Lampoon comedy (like Vacation or Caddyshack) or John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Rated R. Opens May 31, 2013.
My rating: 3 Heels