Saturday, August 17, 2019

Good Boys - Review

The titular good boys of this raunchy, coming of age comedy are trying, with all their might, to be cool, bad, or popular, any of the three could fit at any given point. The film itself, unfortunately, falls into the same pattern, trying so hard to be like similar films that have come before that made this inappropriate sub-genre of comedy a financial opportunity for Hollywood. It matches some comedic beats that are wholly necessary when creating a 90-minute comedy, delivering on a lot of laughs, or at the very least light chuckles.

Invited to his first kissing party, 12-year-old Max (Jacob Tremblay) asks his best friends Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon) for some much-needed help on how to pucker up. When they hit a dead end, Max decides to use his father's drone to spy on the teenage girls next door. When the boys lose the drone, they skip school and hatch a plan to retrieve it before Max's dad can figure out what happened.

The kids have a positive attitude and inherent good nature to them that drives a majority of the comedy throughout the entirety of the film. Misunderstandings of sexual innuendos, drugs, and alcohol are littered in every scene, no matter what insane scenario the kids may be in. When the comedy works, so much credit has to go to the three boys. Everyone already knows the acting capabilities of Jacob Tremblay (don’t worry Jacob, you’ll get that COFCA award one day), but he gets to flex his comedic talents here, and the kid has some great timing.

Not to be outdone are his co-stars of course, who get plenty of moments in the non-stop joke barrage to get their talents across as well. Keith L. Williams gets the voice of reason role, a kid in Lucas in wants to maintain a longtime friendship when everything is changing, and Williams brings the right amount of extra naivety to the character. And then there is Brady Noon, the popular kid worshipper who will do whatever it takes to join that crowd, to which Noon also sells really well. The problems with the film reside nowhere near the three lead performances, as all three really sell the comedy and have solid chemistry and a friendship that’s believable.

That just might be the only thing that is believable however. A comedy is bound to have some outlandish moments, but the leaps in logic to put middle schoolers in these situations seems a little big. The plot is relatively simple, a streamlined goal that allows for the outlandish scenes that the filmmakers strive for. All the kids want is to be able to get to the kissing party on a Friday evening, but the journey there seems far more complex than it ever needed to be. It’s as if writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg knew what situations they wanted in the script, but changed the ages of the characters to middle schoolers in the eleventh hour.

Good Boys takes inspiration from many a coming of age comedy that have come before with very similar setups and structures, and it turns out those were about as good as they could be on their own. The three lead actors all really sell it well, even when the comedy gets repetitive. The whole thing feels like a missed opportunity when you consider the heart that is buried within the film, under layers of profanity just for the sake of profanity. It’s a not a bad film by any means, just a slightly above average comedy that doesn’t feel unique or new in the slightest way.

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