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Review: Good Boys (2019)

A pint-sized “Superbad.” But way better. 

Some people are just plain stupid. I can’t tell you how many ridiculous headlines I’ve read asking, “Should You Take Your Children to See Good Boys (2019)?” Like, do people not know that it’s Rated R? Have they not seen the trailer? Do they not understand the basic premise of this movie? For anyone with kids who are still unsure, no, do not take your children to see Good Boys. If you do, they’re going to end up with a lot of questions that trust me, you’re not ready to answer. However, if you’re a childless, ticket-buying adult, you should absolutely take yourself and all of your friends to see this outrageously funny movie.

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 10.55.05 PM
Credit: / Universal Pictures

Good Boys follows Max, Lucas and Thor, three life-long friends who have just started sixth grade. When they’re invited to their first kissing party, the trio gets into all sorts of unbelievable trouble as they try to prove just how grown-up they think they are. Run-ins with the police, drug dealers and angry teenage girls are only the beginning of their troubles as the friends endure the most difficult day of their young lives.

Even before seeing the movie, I had a good feeling about Good Boys. For starters, it’s based on an original idea. Not only am I thrilled about seeing something that isn’t an unnecessary sequel, reboot or adaptation, but I’ve ended up seeing some incredible original movies this summer so I was hopeful. Additionally, the movie is directed by Gene Stupnitsky who co-wrote the script with fellow The Office (2005 – 2013) writer Lee Eisenberg. Finally, the movie is produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the duo behind hits like This Is the End (2013), Neighbors (2014) and Long Shot (2019). There’s an astounding amount of comedic talent behind Good Boys and it shows. It makes total sense that former writers of The Office wrote the script because in terms of the sense of humour, the movie gives off a very The Office vibe. The movie finds the humour in everyday things and situations, choosing to either flat-out remind you how funny they are, or exaggerate it to hysterical lengths. It’s a cliché but there’s a reason why the truest things are often the funniest.

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 10.58.09 PM
Credit: / Universal Pictures

Starring as Max, the leader of the group who call themselves The Bean Bag Boys, is Jacob Tremblay. I really like Tremblay. Not only is he naturally funny and charismatic, but I thought he was phenomenal in Room (2015) and was robbed of an Oscar nomination. Sidenote, if the rumours are true and he really will be playing Flounder in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid (1989), that would just about be the best casting decision ever made. Tremblay has this incredible look of innocence that immediately draws you in. If hearing Tremblay say one of his lines in that adorable high-pitched voice doesn’t make you go, “awwww!” there’s something wrong with you. Speaking of lines, hearing Tremblay say “oh fuck yeah,” as well as other curse words and innuendos is simultaneously hilarious and unnerving. But that’s the joke of Good Boys: laughing at these innocent children who say hilariously funny and profane things. Does the joke get used over and over and over again? Absolutely. But the charisma and sheer hilarity of these kids doing bad things is so entertaining. Also, anytime you have sweet characters being tainted a little is always fun to watch.

As are the kids themselves. Tremblay has been a star on the rise for a while now and this, his first real comedic role, is a great sign of things to come. Though he may not understand every punchline, he delivers all of them wonderfully and had the audience in stitches with each crass joke. Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon, who play Max’s best friends Lucas and Thor respectively, stand on equal ground with Tremblay. Each young star gets their chance to shine, balancing memorably hilarious moments with scenes of emotional depth. With each character, you find yourself laughing with them but also relating to the personal struggle each one is going through. Williams and Noon couldn’t have picked a better movie to get their starts in and I’m looking forward to seeing what roles they land in the future.

There were times where the writing seemed a tad juvenile, but you know what? Maybe that works for this movie considering its young cast. When I say “juvenile,” I mean that the writing sometimes sounded more like the dialogue you would hear in a middle-school play. Though again, I can’t be too mad at it. Dialogue should sound like it is naturally coming from the character it’s written for and to Eisenberg and Stupnitsky’s credit, that’s what the writing in Good Boys sounds like. Oh, speaking of the writing, boy was it obvious that the adults writing this movie had to Google, “current teen slang” to write this dialogue. At times, it’s a little embarrassing how forced the hipness of the writing seems, but again, based on the humour of the movie it somehow works. In a lot of ways, Good Boys is a satire of youth culture. As satirical as it is, Good Boys is not without heart. Though it may sound surprising, there’s actually an earnest and moving emotional aspect to this raunchy comedy. There are central themes of friendship and growing up that grounds the movie and gives it an emotional weight. Comedies that are just straight up hilarious are amazing, but ones that are also able to get you to relate to and care for its characters? Those are the best.

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 11.01.04 PM
Credit: / Universal Pictures

Go see Good Boys with your friends. Every scene and line will bring a smile to your face whether it’s from legitimate hilarity or just pure cuteness. From start to finish, this well-paced comedy will keep you invested in the lighthearted adventure it takes you on. Though it’s blatantly obvious that this is a modern movie, Good Boys has a certain feel to it that is reminiscent of the coming-of-age teen comedies of the 1980s. Embrace the fun tone and quick-witted humour, and relish that this is a movie that doesn’t need a huge budget or existing intellectual property to succeed: Good Boys is great simply because it’s great. You know what else is great? The fact that Retta and Lil Rel Howery play Lucas’ parents. Imagine growing up in that house!

Will you see Good Boys with your friends?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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