I knew this movie was something special when the first line of dialogue was an (11-year-old) Jacob Tremblay dropping the f-bomb.
Good Boys is directed by Gene Stupnitsky (The Office, Bad Teacher), stars Tremblay, Brady Noon, and Keith L. Williams, and follows three sixth-graders who have to deal with one problem after another in order to get to the kissing party they were invited to.
I am an enormous sucker for coming-of-age films, and I think Hollywood has blessed audiences with truly unique and authentic looks at what it means to be a child over the past few years. I was immediately excited for this Seth Rogen-produced comedy when it was announced to play at this year’s SXSW Festival. Last year, Blockers proved me wrong when what seemed like an awful idea on paper (and even in trailer form) ended up being absolutely lovely and hysterical in its final form. I am so happy to report that not only do I feel the same way about Good Boys, but I’m actually comfortable calling it the funniest movie I’ve seen all year.
The best thing about Good Boys is the writing. Director Stupnitsky and his co-writer Lee Eisenberg managed to take a format that has essentially been done to death at this point (the day-from-hell scenario similar to Superbad, Dude Where’s My Car?, The Hangover), and make it feel fresh thanks to a cast of characters that most producers wouldn’t dare making as dirty as they are here. Fortunately, the fact that little kids are swearing, talking about sex and drugs manages to remain consistently funny throughout the film’s brisk 89-minute runtime.
Combining the three leads’ electrifying chemistry together with a script as witty as the one they were given works magnificently. I somehow always found it funny how the film juxtaposes their personalities by making them say things that are simply too mature to have ever be thought. For instance, at one moment in the film, Tremblay roasts one of the bullies’ dads for having two DUIs hence why he always has to take the train to work, yet during another, he can’t figure out how to open a child-proof pill bottle. The balance between ideas that adults could only think of and ideas kids could only think of together in all three lead roles is consistently entertaining.
It’s hard to not compare Good Boys to the other coming-of-age comedy released this summer: Booksmart. Not only did both premiere at SXSW, feature Will Forte as the awkward dad, Molly Gordon as an antagonist, and have the same Run The Jewels song in the film, but they both capture such a distinct part of each and every one of our lives. While Booksmart covers themes of life at the end of high school, Good Boys displays what gets us all there in the first place. I loved the way this film sets up what true friendship really is. All three leads are just starting to kind of figure themselves out, whether that’s emotionally, or sexually. Thankfully enough, all those ideas are handled with care and some well needed humour.
Saying all that, what this film is missing is any thought in the aesthetic department. Like Blockers (and unlike Booksmart), it’s unfortunate to say that Good Boys could not have looked any more visually uninteresting. There was nothing but the bare-minimum put into the visual department here, which is a real shame. It would have been interesting to see as much care put into there that was put into its script.
Good Boys is an absolute blast. I loved the way it manages to make you laugh your head off while still reminding you of what very well may have been the most awkward time in your life. It sure is for these boys. In the most embarrassing way you could imagine, I *totally* saw myself in these characters, and that’s definitely something worth holding onto.
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