A scene from "Funeral Kings." (Handout )
The debut feature from the sibling writing-directing duo of Kevin and Matthew McManus, "Funeral Kings" is a surprisingly sweet story about a pair of Rhode Island Catholic schoolboys, played with knockabout charm by Alex Maizus and Dylan Hartigan.
Charlie (Maizus) and Andy (Hartigan) help out in the chapel as a way to ditch class, hang out and smoke cigarettes. Their lil gangster routines are underscored with braggadocio-heavy rap music, which only highlights how endearingly harmless the boys really are.
Occasionally the boys encounter situations that threaten to turn ugly, but the venerable Kevin Corrigan as a sleazy video store clerk is, in fact, the closest thing the film has to a villain.
The easygoing charm of "Funeral Kings" and its impulse toward honesty over overstatement robs the film of true dramatic tension, and a number of story lines — involving drugs, rivalry, love interests — are left somewhat unresolved.
The McManus brothers seem content to simply focus on Charlie and Andy's incremental coming-of-age.
"Funeral Kings." MPAA rating: R for language throughout, sexual references, some drugs, drinking and smoking — all involving kids. Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes. At the Chinese 6, Hollywood.