By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin May 31, 2013 at 12:03AM
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.