“The Kings of Summer” boasts the innocence and carefree nature of younger years right alongside the profundity of adulthood, resulting in an experience that functions both as an entertaining romp and tender tale of growing up.
Since the passing of his mother, Joe’s (Nick Robinson) relationship with his father, Frank (Nick Offerman), has been more strained than ever, the two not being able to see eye to eye on a single thing, even a game of Monopoly. Meanwhile, Joe’s best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) has parental problems of his own, but in a much different respect. His mother and father (Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) smother him, drowning him in juvenile affection and vegetable soup. Desperate to not become his father, Joe decides that their only shot at gaining a sense of independence and becoming the men they want to be is to get out from under their parents’ roofs and build their own. Joe, Patrick, and the school oddball, Biaggio (Moises Arias), take to the woods, find a clearing and build their very own home.
“The Kings of Summer” strikes a unique balance between coming-of-age charm, comedy, and honest drama, and it’s the constant give and take between all three that makes the film work particularly well as a whole. There are moments specifically rooted in humor and others aiming to earn weighty emotional arcs, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta always keep all three elements in play, resulting in something that’s both pleasantly enchanting and rather poignant.
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