‘The Kings of Summer’ is a coming-of-age tale with a difference, managing to meld together comedy and drama in equal doses with offbeat humour taking centre stage alongside some truly heartbreaking moments.
We focus on three teens: Joe, a lad determined to be as far away as possible from his miserable dad, played monstrously well by ‘Parks & Rec’s’ star Nick Offerman, then it’s over to Patrick, Gabriel Basso, a semi-miserable wrestler who wants out from his awful, awful Irish-American parents.
Biaggio, played by Moses Arias, is a strange, nutcase of a character. He looks about 30, but is incredibly is only 19, has a mysterious South American background and is a general unknown. He is the star of this film and he sort of knows it. Arias, a man whose previous best known work was in ‘Hannah Montana’, is a revelation. He’s the character that has you falling about with laughter throughout the film.
Well, these three band together and decide to build themselves a house in a forest, wanting to disappear from their families and society itself. The premise is the ultimate coming-of-age tale, as the lads realise what a massive undertaking this is and just how much they have to learn. It’s funny seeing it myself, now from the other side of these awkward teen years, as I can almost relate to the feelings they have at times but, like many, would never have the balls to go through with it.
That being said, it’s certainly a fantasy. If you stopped and thought about certain aspects the realism would be lost. However, with the appearance of bands like MGMT and The Orb on the soundtrack a psychedelic, chilled sense is pretty much always present.
Back to the main trio and whilst Biaggio may steal the film, Joe, played by the up-and-coming Nick Robinson, gives him a run for his money . He reminds me hugely of James Franco, both in looks and his charisma, of which he has bucketloads. With news of him grabbing a lead role in next summer’s ‘Jurassic World’, just coming out, it’s likely the world will get to see a lot of him and he really deserves it based on this performance.
The film itself is a huge success, dicing between the humour which the three adolescents handle magnificently and some heartbreak leading to an unexpectedly tense finale in which you discover that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has really made you care about these characters. The lot of them. From the three lads, to Offerman’s hilarious dad, a very understate role, right over to ‘Community’ star Alison Brie and her troubled relationships as Joe’s sister and Offerman’s daughter.
It’s great stuff and was seen by far too little a number of people this summer with a small cinematic release, leading to a quick release on DVD & Blu-Ray. If you missed it the first time round, do yourself a favour and pick it up this time!