Movie Reviews: ‘Good Boys’

Director: Gene Stupnitsky

Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, Will Forte

Plot: Three tween friends are nervous about their first ‘kissing party’, and in an attempt to learn how to kiss, they set out on a series of misadventures and coming of age drama.

Review: Good Boys has already opened to big box office in the US but is yet to get a release locally. Nonetheless we’re going to throw our opinion in the ring and boldly state that it’s…ok.

Max, Lucas and Thor (Tremblay, Williams and Noon respectively) are 12 years old and new to the sixth grade, where they anticipate a bold new journey towards maturity. Max in particular is focused on his crush, Brixlee, and his chance to kiss her when the cool kids invite him to their ‘kissing party’. The problem here is that Max and his friends don’t know how to kiss. Using Max’s father’s (Forte) drone to spy on their teenaged neighbours they wind up losing the drone and have to set out to fix things – things such as ditching school, exploring porn, stealing beer, crossing a highway and winding up carrying drugs.

If you have seen any coming-of-age story about swearing teens wanting to lose their virginity then you know exactly what happens in Good Boys. This is a script that does absolutely nothing to push the boundaries of the genre or even give it a unique spin. The storyline could not be more paint-by-numbers if it tried, right down to the ‘learning’ moment at the end.

The unique selling point is that the main characters are only 12 years old, and they say swear words a whole bunch. Some of the funnier aspects of the film come with the boy’s misunderstanding of sexual matters, especially their interpretation of pornography. That aside, the script has the same gags you’d get in any movie of this ilk, but relies on the young age of the actors to elevate the material. Perhaps I’m a snob, but that’s simply not enough. The lazy editing certainly doesn’t help.

The young performers are good for their age, especially the experienced actor Jacob Tremblay. Whilst their performances are a touch stilted, they all have good comedic timing and deliver the material well. When they have actual jokes to tell it’s all fun, but when we’re expected to laugh at 12 years because they’re swearing it’s all a bit shallow.

Perhaps this is because I’m a teacher and listen to kids this age swearing and talking obnoxious nonsense on a daily basis, but the basis for this comedy feels tiresome.

Having said all that, there’s no doubt that this will be fun for younger audiences who will find the characters more relatable, and it will no doubt be fondly remembered by those who grow up with it. I do like the way they worked in the importance of consent as a running gag (the joke being that they have to get it, even from a sex doll), complete with clear demonstrations of how to handle consent. I appreciate that effort, especially with the teen-sex-comedies having a sordid history of treating sexual abuse as the source of humour (looking at you Revenge of the Nerds and American Pie). In short – you’ll probably enjoy it more than me.

Rating: FIVE out of TEN