The Kings of Summer: It's movie royalty in a bad movie year

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comJuly 24, 2013 

Three high school kids in a Midwest town are miserable. Joe can't take the continuing conflict and misery of his widower dad. His best bud Patrick has controlling, nagging parents. Their acquaintance Biaggio doesn't suffer from parental troubles. He's just one of those kids who tags along. The two best friends have no clue why but don't want to turn him away.

Their solution is to run away from home and build their own place in an open field surrounded by a wooded area outside of town. The parents and police are not able to find them. Typical of teenagers, the boys are over their head when it comes to feeding and taking care of themselves in the wild.

Later a girl and some friends get involved.

The Kings of Summer is a wonderfully crafted, well-acted and often fun coming-of-age flick. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (who has a few TV directing credits on his rsum) and first-time screenwriter Chris Galletta get this one right.

Helping the movie are four good, young actors and some terrific work from the actors playing their parents, and some excellent writing around and connection to those relationships.

Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias are the three boys and Erin Moriarty is the girlfriend. These kids are terrific. Arias steals the show as the not-quite-connected-to-the-planet Biaggio. He's a very strange looking young man anyway, and knows how to use his looks to get laughs and he gets lots of them.

Comedian Nick Offerman is Joe's dysfunctional dad. Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson do Patrick's meddling, lecturing parents. They're brilliant and really funny.

I'm light years from high school. And I'm way past parent-kid conflicts. Yet, Vogt-Roberts and Galletta manage to connect me to these kids and their dilemma. They do it with the right amount of serious, the right amount of whimsy and the right amount of right-on dialogue.

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Stars: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, Erin Moriarty

Rated R for mature themes and language. It is playing at the Carmike 12

Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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