UNIVERSAL PICTURES (2019)
Directors: Gene Sputnitsky
Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon, Lil Rel Howery, Will Forte, Midori Francis
The next chance to save the comedy genre!
Dubbed as “Superbad with kids”, Good Boys is the next in line to indeed be the next Superbad – after Booksmart stormed through and did it even better this year. This time around, the protagonists are three sixth-grade boys who face the dilemma of being invited to a kissing party without having any knowledge of kissing. So, they use one a drone (belonging to one of their dads) to spy on the teenage girls next door, but when the drone is captured, they need to skip school and find themselves in a variety of situations in order to retrieve the drone – or risk the wrath of an enraged father.
The kids, Lucas (Williams), the ridiculously named Thor (Noon) and Max (Tremblay) – AKA The Beanbag Boys - are depicted as righteous, brash and slightly dorky respectively and fit the Superbad mould nicely. They alternate between foul-mouthed and utterly naïve and the main crux of the humour revolves around just that – the idea of kids cursing and coming into contact with sex toys and the like with no comprehension of what they are. The problem is those elements lose their novelty and comedic value pretty quickly which leaves Good Boys rehashing the same jokes throughout. There are some very funny moments scattered within, problematic child-proof packaging and a high-octane paintball-fuelled escape being the highlights, but they’re few and far between, sadly. Alongside that, there’s a strange tone throughout, as if we’re supposed to bond with these kids and want them to succeed together, however, this idea is thrown out for the majority of the movie only to be resurrected during the finale. It’s all a bit mawkish. The messages within regarding the importance of friendships and even the honesty in growing apart are solid and well-meaning, they just seem to exist alongside the comedy rather than really work with it.
The trio of youngsters are fine, however, I thought they suffered in trying to replicate the Rogen-esque humour. They don’t quite have the chops for it yet and, as such, it felt a bit forced. Keith L. Williams stood out for me but Brady Noon’s character began to grate the further into the movie we got. That said, they had good chemistry between them which made viewing them as a whole bearable. Molly Gordon and Midori Francis have little to do but had some good moments throughout. That pretty much sums up Good Boys, there’s little going on but it has some good moments. It’s certainly not the worst comedy of the year but it feels like something we’ve seen before many times, even this year with the magnificent Booksmart. If you like the same gags recycled throughout the same movie, you’re going to enjoy Good Boys – not bad, not great, it’s just fine.
August 23rd 2019