August 12, 2019

SCREEN | Sweet but Raunchy – 'Good Boys' Breaks Bad

Jacob Tremblay Keith L. Williams Brady Noon Gene Stupnitsky | Good Boys

Good Boys really mines its little kids doing and saying explicit adult things premise for all its worth. Written and directed by comedy veterans Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, the R-rated film (mostly for language) is surprisingly sweet in taking most of its jokes and punchlines from middle school boys acting like adults and revealing their own ignorance on the world.

Basically set up as Superbad for sixth-graders, Good Boys focuses on the "Bean Bag Boys" trio of Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon. They have a fun, genuine chemistry that mixes different aspects of adolescent development in young boys growing into their minds and bodies. Produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, we can see their trademark influences in establishing the small world our familiar characters forcing themselves into awkward situations to grow up.

What's key to making the whole thing work is believing the innocence of the three little boys and their classmates. Kids don't know what they're doing but see and hear everything. They use tools like the internet and what others say to build their own understanding of their bodies, sex, and adulthood.

The kid stuff also works because the boys are surrounded by some killer adult comedians by the likes of Will Forte, Lil Rel Howery, Retta, and many others that fill out the motivations of everyone so well. Teenagers played by Molly Gordon and Midori Francis as the main antagonists are also really great acting against the boys in their mission to get to a party, kiss girls, drink beer, and prove they're not little kids anymore.

Stupitsky and Eisenberg's impossibly fun, sweet, and sometimes moving comedy about kids growing up touches our heartstrings just as it makes us cackle from its filthy humour. It quickly moves past its simple premise of boys behaving badly to justify the crude behaviour of its material. The characters really are "good boys".

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