I’m always impressed when I come upon a writer or director
with a unique storytelling voice. The
Kings of Summer may not be a great movie but it’s definitely an original.
Nick Robinson plays a teenage boy who’s fed up with his
widowed father, a sarcastic, bitter man well played by Nick Offerman.
Robinson’s best friend (Gabriel Basso) feels the same way about his parents,
played by Megan Mullally and Mark Evan Jackson. So the boys decide to run away
from their suburban Ohio homes and build a house in the woods where they can
live on their own. A very odd fellow named Biaggio (Moises Arias) tags along
with them…just because.
So far, so good…but The
Kings of Summer continually changes tone. First, it’s a snarky comedy, then
it’s a whimsical fable—poignant at one moment, then shooting for sitcom-style
laughs. Writer Chris Galletta and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts have some good
ideas, and an ideal cast to carry them out, but I was put off by a film I
dearly wanted to embrace.
Because the parts are greater than the whole, you may choose
to overlook the inconsistencies and just enjoy what’s there in The Kings of Summer. I respect the film
and can’t wait to see what its creators come up with next.