After all, when the boys' parents don't seem all that concerned about their missing sons, why should anyone else care either?

With a plot haphazardly hammered together like a house with no clear architectural plans, what also severely undermines The Kings of Summer is a generally misguided sense of what’s funny. When over-the-top physical gags fall flat (and how!), the writers resort to laughs of the lowest common denominator that reinforce tasteless racial stereotypes.

Really, the best thing that can be said for The Kings of Summer is that it didn’t drag on and on. But as the heir to Moonrise Kingdom’s throne? Trust me, it’s more a cheap knock-off than the genuine article.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: God’s name is misused or paired with da-- on multiple occasions. The f-word is used a handful of times, along with a--, sh--, dam- and he--. Humor, particularly of the racially charged variety, that’s in bad taste.
  • Sex/Nudity: Kissing and teen flirtation. Several crude references to male anatomy. Joe’s dad makes a crack about masturbation. Teen girls wear revealing clothing, and we see Joe and his pals in the underwear in a couple of scenes, too.
  • Drugs/Alcohol: There are several scenes that involve underage drinking, both at parties and during the boys' adventure in the woods.
  • Violence: Joe stabs a rabbit, and we see him butcher it (if you’re squeamish about blood and guts, you’ll want to avert your eyes—it’s graphic). Some teenage fighting over a girl results in a few punches. Joe hurts Patrick’s already-injured leg. Biaggio is bitten by a snake.

Christa Banister is an author and full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the MeddlersBased in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog.

Publication date: May 31, 2013