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Movie review: Teens on their own in funny, touching 'Kings of Summer

Published June 21, 2013 9:07 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Teen rebellion takes some strange turns in director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' sharp comedy "The Kings of Summer" (which was titled "Toy's House" when it played at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival).

Joe Toy (Nick Robinson), at 15, is fed up with his sarcastic father (Nick Offerman), while his best friend, Patrick (Gabriel Basso), is equally tired of his dorky parents (Megan Mullally, Marc Evan Jackson). The two team up with oddball classmate Biaggio (Moises Arias, a real scene-stealer) to build a ramshackle house in the woods and live off the land. It's a great plan until Joe's crush, Kelly (Erin Moriarty), enters to drive a wedge between Joe and Patrick.

Vogt-Roberts sets a kicky pace, getting teen authenticity from Robinson and Basso while also drawing laughs from an ensemble that includes Alison Brie and Mary Lynn Rajskub. But the MVP here is Chris Galletta's script, which is as knowing of teen emotions as it is acidly funny.

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'The Kings of Summer'

Opens Friday, June 21, at area theaters; rated R for language and some teen drinking; 93 minutes.