Another coming-of-age tale of teen angst and a trio of pals on an idyllic summer’s rite of passage may sound a trifle ho-hum. But Kings of Summer is a magnificent small gem from first time feature writer Chris Galletta and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is absolutely brilliant, unique, imaginative and very, very funny.
15-year-old Joe (Robinson) lives in his own world, is mourning his mother’s death and hates his sarcastic dad (Parks And Recreation’s Offerman) and dad’s dippy new girlfriend. So when the school term ends Joe takes off for the woods to build his own home. His best friend Patrick (Basso), embarrassed and suffocated by his relentlessly cheery old hippy parents (Will And Grace’s Megan Mullally, who is Offerman’s wife in real life, and Marc Evan Jackson) decides to join him, as does an uninvited, eccentric and unpredictable third wheel, sword-wielding weirdo Biaggio (Arias).
Armed with a ‘How To’ survival manual, the boys set about construction, hunting, cooking and manly woodsmen skills with mixed results, and the arrival of an Eve in their Eden creates new problems. Meanwhile the parents of the missing boys hound the local police captain (24’s Mary Lynn Rajskub) and are, naturally, doing their nuts in their own ways.
This is excruciatingly accurate about being 15, touchingly capturing the heartache and alienation, but screamingly funny throughout, with immaculate performances. An unexpected delight.
Is Kings Of Summer suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There’s a poisonous snake in the grass who strikes and is beheaded, with the resulting life-or-death medical emergency, but there’s nothing too gross.