Friday, August 16

Good Boys Review

Good Boys

Dir: Gene Stupnitsky

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

While sitting around the dinner table chatting with my parents, I accidentally dropped the “F-word” in casual conversation. With a noticeable physical flinch my mother stopped the conversation, looked me dead in the eyes, and told me “watch your mouth”. This happened a month ago and I am in my late 30’s. 

I can only imagine how my mother would react and what she would say to the young tween boys in the completely raunchy, surprisingly heartfelt coming-of-age comedy “Good Boys”. Within the first 15 minutes numerous, unrestrained, and awkward discussions pertaining to kissing, masturbation, and numerous other topics of a sexual nature are had with a combination, one might call it flair, of explicit language as connective tissue for the themes. “Good Boys” has shock factor but it’s also completely hilarious and unexpectedly sweet. 

The “Bean Bag Boys”, Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon), and Lucas (Keith L. Williams), are sixth graders trying to traverse the changing landscape of their school, their own growing maturity, and also their friendship. Max has a crush on a girl named Brixlee (Millie Davis) and he is invited by the popular kids to a kissing party. Max is able to get Thor and Lucas invited, who aren’t initially requested to go, but before they can make the party they need to learn how to kiss a girl. In the process they lose an expensive drone and come into possession with a purse with drugs. 

Almost every film handling the coming-of-age theme deals with the reality of adulthood crashing down on the innocence of young people. In the process the young people are forced to mature, sometimes faster than expected, in order to survive in the changing world. “Good Boys” incorporates much of this same narrative structure, though without some of the deeper insights found in films dealing with older kids like in “Stand by Me” or even “Sixteen Candles”. 

These are also sixth graders; their innocence is still very much intact even though they are faced with a wealth of grown up situations which are happening around them. This is where “Good Boys” finds its most humorous quality. The strongest comedic element of this film happens because of the kid’s genuine innocence and naivety to adult situations. When they come into possession of a purse with drugs, their first instinct is to make a citizen’s arrest while using imaginary finger guns to assist. It’s played to the height of innocence for the young characters.

Even though the plot is somewhat paper thin in structure, the themes manipulated throughout the film help in establishing the heart that makes the humor so much more authentic. The friends are being pushed into a world that wants them to mature so quickly, where a simple search on the computer can expose them to a world of adult circumstances. The friends are all trying to find their place in the world, which brings about the natural pulling apart of their friendship as one is trying to be cool, one is trying to find a girlfriend, and one is just content with doing things that he thinks are simply fun. These aspects of character building and the exploration of different themes in different perspectives is what moves the narrative forward.

“Good Boys” is raunchy humor and hard language coming from the mouths of 12-year-olds. However, beyond this form of harsh comedy, which can be very funny, is some genuine heart and a complete sweetness that comes through with the relationship between these young friends. And in the end, it’s not the shocking moments that will keep the laughs going, it’s the innocence found within each of these young kids who are just trying to make sense of the world they are encountering that will sustain humor beyond the credits.

Monte’s Rating

3.75 out of 5.00


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