Good Boys Review – They’re Funny Foul-Mouthed Tweens
The ‘Era of the Tweens’ is alive and well in Good Boys, an R-Rated (15 in the UK) Coming of Age Comedy that delights in applying crass and mature humour to 6th Graders. Why? Because deep down we all know that kids swearing is hilarious. Add onto that some confusion about porn and an intimate encounter with a sex doll and you can understand where the R-Rating for this one comes from.
Good Boys is written by frequent collaborators Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg who brought us Year One and Bad Teacher, with Stupnitsky also helming this boat as his directorial debut. Alongside them for the ride is another well known duo, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who are producing the movie under their Point Grey Pictures company (This is the End, Neighbours, & Long Shot). These names alone were enough to get my butt in the seat ready for some belly laughs, lovable characters and unlucky situations. I was not disappointed.
The Beanbag Boys, as our main trio have completely unironically nicknamed themselves, consists of long term best friends Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon). Max is the unequivocal leader of the group, mature for his age (in some ways) and going through a deep stage of girl obsession. Lucas, the complete stand out of this film, is the overgrown and often overly sensitive member of the group who lacks the capability of lying. Thor is the wannabe bad boy with a gifted singing voice and a penchant for trying too hard to be cool.
“The boys having to sprint across a dangerous highway, sell a sex doll to a man who reeks of ‘stranger danger’, fight off a bunch of drug selling frat boys and, the hardest of all tasks, open a child proof lid. All of this in the name of love.”
Like a lot of Teen Comedies or Coming of Age films, Good Boys begins with a simple premise. Max is deemed cool enough by the hipster youths in his school to be invited to his first ever ‘kissing party’ along with his crush Brixlee. He convinces them to let his boys come too and now the trio must deal with the fact that none of them know how to kiss a girl. Their mission to discover this holy grail of knowledge is fraught with escalating barriers that lead to the boys having to sprint across a dangerous highway, sell a sex doll to a man who reeks of ‘stranger danger’, fight off a bunch of drug selling frat boys and, the hardest of all tasks, open a child proof lid. All of this in the name of love.
Of course this film is drawing numerous comparisons to Rogen and Goldbergs previous film Superbad, and it’s a pretty justified observation. Simple mission halted by ridiculous scenarios…check. A lovable rogues gallery of mixed personalities…check. More swear words and crude jokes than a Jimmy Carr stand up gig…check. Yet there’s something so fresh in the delivery of these tried and tested tropes which ultimately comes down to the young age of the boys.
The cast are absolutely perfect in this, bringing youthful naivety to some seriously messed up situations. Their chemistry together brings life to every joke and misunderstanding, and makes them thoroughly enjoyable protagonists. I know you shouldn’t pick favourites when it comes to children but I can’t stop myself from putting the adorable Lucas up on a pedestal. There is something so pure about his character and Williams portrays him with such heart and excellent comedic timing. He’s an absolute stand out and I demand he is cast in everything from now on!
Beyond what could become a tedious running joke of kids swearing in strange scenarios (“It’s a f*cking juice box! Because I’m not a f*cking child!”) or misunderstanding grown up words (“She’s a nymphomaniac. Someone who has sex on land and sea.”) is the real heart of this film. As the night of the ‘kissing party’ nears the Beanbag Boys have to deal with the idea that maybe they won’t be friends forever, but maybe that’s okay. It’s here where the real triumph of the film is created in tackling the emotions and confusion that comes with not quite being a little kid anymore but not yet being a teenager either.
Good Boys is a strong entry into a year that has brought us other amazing comedies such as Long Shot & Booksmart. It’s just a shame that 12 year olds won’t get a chance to see this for a few years. I mean, unless they know how to tick the box that says I’m over 18, but surely they wouldn’t do that.