Gabriel Basso (left), Moises Arias and Nick Robinson get a taste of nature as The Kings Of Summer.
THE KINGS OF SUMMER (Jordan Vogt-Roberts) Rating: NNNN
In The Kings Of Summer, three teenage boys (Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias) escape family tensions by building a house in the woods outside their small town. Fleeing home to live in relative isolation, feeding themselves by raiding the local deli's dumpster, they establish a pleasant equilibrium... at least for the first week.
Chris Galletta's screenplay balances the evolving challenges of the kids' refuge - including but not limited to some sexual confusion and the growing realization that living off the fat of the land is actually pretty difficult - with the understandable panic of the grown-ups they've abandoned. The adults are played by the likes of Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Marc Evan Jackson, Megan Mullally and Kumail Nanjiani, all bringing their A-game to modest roles.
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts's assured feature debut mixes moments of natural beauty with charmingly silly comic beats and convincingly awkward eruptions of real emotion. The ending's a little on the grim side, but it kinda has to be.