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Good Boys – Movie Review

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Good Boys – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

The premise of young boys swearing and pretending to be adult isn’t exactly new ground for comedies. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have certainly been milking this for over twenty years on South Park. Good Boys acts like a live-action version of that long-running animated series and succeeds where it matters: in the humour and the chemistry between the leads. First-time feature director Gene Stupnitsky and his co-writing partner Lee Eisenberg have crafted a consistently funny script that properly utilises the trio of young actors tasked with carrying the movie. Good Boys is certainly crude and vulgar, but the laughs are gained from watching these tweens navigate a world they don’t quite understand.

The casting of Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon goes a long way towards making Good Boys work. These are believable friends, each with well established personalities and home lives. Stupnitsky and Eisenberg aren’t afraid of showing the absurd thoughts that run through their heads, counter to their parents’ views of them as perfect angels. A lot of the humour mainly comes through them trying to figure out the strange sexual activities of adults and teenagers. Their confusion at pornography and odd sex toys all succeed at being funny, because of their innocence mixed with their profanity-laced mouths. The filmmakers also get a lot of mileage from the relatable annoyance of trying to open child-proof caps.

Good Boys does build a solid plot around these youngsters and is smart enough to give it a lean runtime. Tremblay’s need to replace his father’s drone provides a ticking time clock and two college girls in pursuit of drugs make for worthy adversaries. The filmmakers thus allow this to be a springboard for many inspired gags, as does the quest to participate in a kissing party. The casting of the older characters also works well. Sam Richardson gets a great one-scene role as a policeman who comes across the boys, as does Stephen Merchant as a man who attempts to make a business transaction.

The movie does allow the characters to grow, leading to it becoming a more traditional coming-of-age story. It nicely touches on how children fear that their entire lives will be affected by things they do in their younger years, not realising these will just be minor blips. Watching the film several years removed from being the boys’ age also makes one see how much times have changed with the rampant growth in technology. On a directing level, Stupnitsky doesn’t bring too much to the table as he chooses to film the story in a very standard way. There is one stand-out chase scene, though, made even more hilarious by Midori Francis’s stoic impression as one of the aforementioned college girls.

Good Boys is not the most original comedy, with the sexual dialogue and abundance of swear words common in Seth Rogen productions. However, the material works more often than not and the three leads end up being rater endearing. The film doesn’t merely rest on the novelty of hearing 12 year olds spout dirty words and react to tampons. There is an actual story being told and major stakes involved. Well, major to people of that age. It gets a little funnier when one realises there will probably be children partaking in similar misadventures when they try to sneak into Good Boys.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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