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The Kings of Summer Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Where the somewhat less wild things are. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Village Voice Inkoo Kang

    The Kings of Summer plays like an extended sitcom episode, and not a very special one at that.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    I didn't feel strongly one way or another about The Kings of Summer. It's too innocuous to actively dislike but there's nothing memorable here. The characters are bland; the comedy, while occasionally eliciting laughs, is lukewarm; and the relationships never gel.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety John Anderson

    [The Kings of Summer] is much more interested in the laughs that can be mined from character rather than plot. Galletta’s script, Vogt-Roberts’ direction and the distinctive play of the actors, notably Offerman and Mullally, lets the viewer know who everyone is right away, and the gag lines flow.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    The best way to enjoy The Kings of Summer is to view it as a likable comic fantasy dreamed up by filmmakers (Chris Galletta wrote the screenplay) who are close enough to adolescence to infuse their ramshackle story with a youthful, carefree whimsy.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter David Rooney

    Even if the movie ultimately proves less adventurous than its main characters, it has a charm that keeps resurfacing every time you think it’s wandering too far into cutesville.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The coming-of-age film is poignant and comical, sitting squarely on that threshold, focusing on the time when a teen is part boy, part man and all adolescent.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Nell Minow

    Wise, touching, and often wildly funny,

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  • See all The Kings of Summer reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 16+

Funny teen coming-of-age story has swearing, some drinking.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Kings of Summer is a coming-of-age dramedy about freshmen/sophomore-age high school students. Like Stand by Me, the strong language is the main reason for the movie's "R" rating. Words include "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and "c--t." There's also some teen drinking, mainly at a big party early in the film, and then some casual beer-sipping later on. There's a fairly intense scene of a character catching and skinning a rabbit, which appears real. Characters often fight and argue as well. Though there are some romantic stirrings between teens, there's little more than flirting (older characters are seen kissing), though one scene does suggest masturbation in the shower (nothing graphic is shown). Overall, the characters mean well (despite some iffy decisions/actions), and the film has worthy messages about friendship and self-sufficiency.

  • Families can talk about whether strong language is/should be enough of a reason to restrict teens from seeing a movie about characters their age. Teens: How prevalent is swearing in your life? Does it make a movie more or less relatable to you when it has that kind of language?
  • Kings of Summer shows teens drinking in two scenes. Could the movie have done without these scenes? Are there consequences for the drinking? Are they realistic?
  • What's the relationship between the teen characters and their parents? Are these relationships realistic or exaggerated for humor?
  • What's the most important thing the characters learn in this story?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The three main characters come of age in this story. They learn, somewhat, how to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves. They also learn that asking for a little help isn't a bad thing. They suffer through some betrayals -- both in romance and friendship -- but they find themselves wiser and more understanding. A father and son also learn to mend their fractured relationship.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: You wouldn't really want young teens emulating these characters -- especially when it comes to running away from home, stealing from their parents, and drinking while underage. But they're genuinely good people, and they do learn some valuable lessons about family, friendship, and trust.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The main character traps a rabbit and kills it (off camera). He then carries it back to camp, skins and cleans it, and cooks it. It appears to be a real rabbit, with blood shown. Characters often argue with one another, albeit in a playful way. A snake bites a main character, who is subsequently rushed to the hospital. In an early scene, a school bully steals the main character's shirt. Main characters play a violent "shooter" video game.

  • sex false2

    Sex: There's a brief scene about a teen boy masturbating in the shower, but nothing is shown. A couple is shown heavily making out.

  • language false3

    Language: "F--k" and "s--t" are used several times, by both teens and adults. "C--t," "c--k," "piss," "bitch," "bastard," "d--k," "goddamn," "hell," and "Jesus" are also used from time to time. A middle finger gesture is shown.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: The Boston Market restaurant chain is a large part of the movie's plot. The game of Monopoly is a smaller part. Barbasol shaving cream is shown. A character works on a snack wagon at a golf course, and many snack brands are glimpsed.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: An early scene takes place at a big high school drinking party, with a keg that goes empty. The main characters attend the party but are denied drinks on account of being freshmen (though the school year has just ended and they're now rising sophomores). The movie's main teen female character is shown to be drunk at the party. In a later scene, two of the main teen characters are shown casually sipping beer in the woods but aren't shown drunk or overindulging. Adult characters are shown smoking cigars.