Saturday Night Live turned 40 this year and during those four decades, the legendary sketch comedy show has been famous for showcasing young talent and quickly ushering them to new and often exciting heights. The new Lorne Michaels-produced sex comedy film Staten Island Summer is a perfect example of this pushing of budding comedic actors into stardom. The film is overflowing with SNL cast members, both young and old. In fact, there are so many SNL players in this movie that at times, it does feel like a massive sketch put on by its players… and it essentially is, with SNL-writer/performer Colin Jost responsible for the raunchy script. Staten Island Summer is a fun, no holds barred, laugh fest that is sure to entertain many an audience.
The story revolves around Danny (Graham Phillips), a summer lifeguard at Staten Island’s Great Kills Swim Club, a place filled with many colorful characters and where pretty much anything happens. Danny and his crude but well-meaning bestie Frank (Zack Pearlman) are spending one last summer at Great Kills before they have to pack up and move away to college. It’s an uncertain and turbulent time for these two young men, made only more complicated with beautiful women being every which way. With the prospect of sex and a crazy boss annoying them, not to mention crazier swim club members, this is one summer Danny and Zack are sure to never forget.
Staten Island Summer is a mix of all teen sex comedies before it and while it doesn’t offer a whole lot that’s new, it is an engaging hybrid of Caddyshack, American Pie, and most recently, Superbad. Colin Jost has certainly taken these classic comedies and molded something that isn’t exactly fresh but certainly downright fun. Zack Pearlman (The Virginity Hit, The Inbetweeners) gets most of the laughs as the loudmouth sex maniac Frank and he pretty much leads a cast of comedy legends including SNL’s own Mike O’Brien, Bobby Moynihan, Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, Will Forte, and Fred Armisen. Joining them are Gina Gershon, Jim Gaffigan, Kate Walsh, John DeLuca, Ashley Greene, and Method Man, among others. All in all, it’s a fantastically random cast that only adds to the film’s high level of quality.
Jost’s script is strong and gives the actors plenty of opportunities to shine. Graham Phillips may be a pretty face but his leading man potential is sort of weak. The real stars are Pearlman, Bobby Moynihan as lazy pothead Skootch and Mike O’Brien as Chuck, the inept Speedo-wearing swim club manager. These two are utterly hilarious and definitely need to star in more movies. They are largely responsible for Staten Island Summer being as good as it is.
With summer in full swing, Staten Island Summer is the perfect zany comedy to watch, either in the theater or online. While it isn’t exactly new or original, it is funny and engaging and that is something a good summer film needs. Humor is essential and with a large chunk of SNL talent being present here, be prepared to laugh yourself silly. Staten Island Summer is currently available on Digital Download and will debut on Netflix on July 30th.