Coming on like Stand by Me meets Son of Rambow, the boys' adventure is essentially dreamy indie-teen wish-fulfilment.
A warm and affectionate comedy about that last great summer when you're 13 or 14 and you don't realize just how much your life is about to change and things will never be the same.
This willfully eccentric tale about teenage boys in suburban Ohio fleeing their families to live in the deep woods plays like an erratic comic revue slapped together at theater camp.
There is much here to admire, but the overall impression is of a film that does not have the courage of its convictions.
Once they go into the woods, the movie becomes as interesting as watching kids hang around and play with sticks.
In its small, independent way, "The Kings of Summer" rules.
The Kings of Summer is the cinematic equivalent of an Arctic-cold popsicle on a Sahara-hot day. Refreshing and satisfying but not overly sentimental, the film taps into the frustrations of adolescence with warmth and wit.
The foundation of a much better movie is buried somewhere beneath the debris that's too quickly piled on to The Kings of Summer ...
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts cut his teeth on network cable series and Internet comedy shorts, and it shows. Instead of developing a genuine perspective he simply repeats the same few stylistic gestures ad infinitum.