Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Good Boys ★★★☆☆

We’ve had plenty of comedies of adults going wild. We’ve had Bad Moms, we’ve had Bad Santa, we’ve had endless comedies like The Hangover, Bridesmaids, Old School and American Pie. We’ve had the older generation going wild in Last Vegas and we’ve had teens in Superbad. But one age that has never been covered in these gross-out comedy films is children. The time has never been right for a film of children swearing, drinking and playing with anal beads. But hey, it seems like anything goes in 2019…

Screenwriters Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (veterans of the US Office) team up with producers Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Evan Goldberg for Good Boys, one of the crudest – and most hilarious – films of the year.

After being invited to his first kissing party, 12-year-old Max (Jacob Tremblay) is panicking because he does not know how to kiss. Eager for some pointers, Max and his best friends, Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams), decide to use Max's dad's drone, which they are forbidden to touch, to spy on a teenage couple who are making out. But when things go ridiculously wrong, the drone is confiscated. Desperate to get it back before Max's dad gets home, the boys skip school and set off an odyssey of epically bad decisions involving some accidentally stolen drugs, frat-house paintball, and running from both the cops and terrifying teenage girls.

This is a film destined for controversy – these youngsters behave so badly in this film that it warrants an age rating that forbids the actors themselves from technically even watching the trailer, let alone the film. But despite the vulgarity, there is heart here. It’s been done before by The Inbetweeners – as our crude friends share a moment of quiet in which they question how long their friendship will last and whether or not life will take them in different directions. But despite that, it’s one of several charming interludes in a film that is otherwise quite amazingly inappropriate considering a combined age of the three leads that probably wouldn’t even top 40. 

Despite their young ages, though, the cast is stellar – with the most praise going to Jacob Tremblay who continues to prove himself as one of the finest young actors in the history of cinema. After a career-making turn in Room, he has been consistently working on a wide array of projects that have really shown his versatility and skill far beyond his years.

Good Boys is exactly what it looks like – it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. But that’s not a criticism. If you enjoy sex jokes, you’ll enjoy them whatever aged mouths they come out of. The USP of Good Boys having child leads is fresh and fun, but it isn’t the sum of the film’s parts. There is more here than the premise – the jokes land, the simplistic plot is fun, the characters are well-written and the heart is in the right place. Good Boys is no comedy masterpiece but it’s certainly one of the funniest films of the year so far, and one that I had a good time with.

Sam Love

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