There are many lessons to be learned from Good Boys that can be applied to everyday life. Things like, how to cross the road, how to talk to police officers, how to buy and offload drugs and how to use sex toys in as many ways as possible that don’t involve sex. Importantly, all these lessons are geared at sixth graders so they’re easy and hilarious for everyone to understand.
It’s a bit confronting coming into a film which essentially markets itself as Superbad but where the kids are even younger. I was worried everything was just going to be too gross and inappropriate. I didn’t want to sit through a film, watching minors do uncomfortably adult things. Thankfully, Good Boys has a decent mix of Booksmart-style wholesomeness which keeps it from getting too weird.
Good Boys Review
Where Good Boys is clever is that it keeps things firmly grounded in a kids world. Even when they’re dealing with things they absolutely shouldn’t be, the film presents it through the lens of the kids.
They move on quickly when things are unpalatable because as kids they don’t necessarily even realise what’s happened. This means even when they’re doing disgusting things like innocently kissing a used sex doll on the mouth and wondering why it’s sticky, it somehow manages to be not so bad.
There are plenty of moments like this throughout the film where the audience feels the tension of the situation but it’s diffused by the virtue of them simply being good boys. It’s a fine line to tread but even when I found myself cringing at the scenario the kids brought a levity of innocence which washed away the filth.
This is also the main joke in Good Boys and while it’s a funny one it does get a bit old. The ride is all about the juxtaposition between these adult situations these children are fumbling through. There’s a sense of wondering what’s next and though it does often surprise and amuse, sometimes the formula was just a bit overdone.
Good Boys deals with this by relying on the occasional shock joke and consistently ramping up. This works best when the older characters can see what the kids are doing because it gives you a reaction to relate to.
Watching a cop try to deal with weirdly earnest kids trying to steal beers and give him drugs only to be locked in a gas station by a double-ended dildo was a delight. Being able to see the absurdity of the situation through adult eyes while still keeping the naivety of the kids is weirdly sweet.
This theme also carried through the film. A large chunk of the movie sees the boys dealing with a pair of older girls who want their drugs back. Watching both groups mess with each other was surprisingly jovial even though the stakes seemed high to the kids.
If this had been adults, or even just older boys this scenario could have felt really dangerous. Instead, the situation is smartly represented in ways that let you know the kids aren’t going to come to any real harm, despite the dangerous things they do.
Childlike Not Childish
Something that really impressed me was realising after the movie that I’d been watching a film which starred three tweenage boys. Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon all do a stellar job in their roles, as do the rest of the supporting cast.
Now I know this is a comedy but for their age, these kids have some serious acting chops. I never felt like they were being tiresome or fake like what can often creep in with child actors, especially when they’re trying to be funny.
There were moments where you could tell things were being overblown for the humour side of things but it was never a cringeworthy performance. Instead, they all felt really genuine and believable which was impressive given some of the things they were having to do.
They’re Good Boys Brent
That’s probably a good tip to the writing as well. Each of them had their own distinct personalities and flaws which contributed to getting the story into ridiculous situations. Each character is shown to be dealing with their own problems and motives.
They all also showed a lot of care for each other, once they got over themselves. I’m not saying I’d recommend showing this movie to children as it’s well and truly earned the MA15+ rating but there are definitely worse films young boys could watch.
This movie allows them to be sensitive, like different things, care about each other and places a fairly heavy focus on consent. I made a joke about lessons in the opening paragraph but there are some really valid themes in here amongst the sex, drugs and rock and roll musicals.
Good Boys isn’t the funniest comedy this year but it’s definitely a fun time and will absolutely earn its fair share of laughs. It can be a bit hampered by predictability and repetition but the overall wholesome vibes and adventure attitude make for a weirdly nice movie.
I didn’t expect to come away from this with such a light heart but the truth is, they really are good boys.
Hope Corrigan attended a review screening of Good Boys as a guest of Universal.
Movie title: Good Boys
Movie description: Three 6th grade boys ditch school and embark on an epic journey while carrying accidentally stolen drugs, being hunted by teenage girls, and trying to make their way home in time for a long-awaited party.