Cast: Jacob Trembley, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon
Director: Gene Stupnitsky
Well, you’ll either love or hate Good Boys. There’s no in-between and it is exclusively dependent on your type of humor. If you’re used to Seth Rogen’s other films, you’ll know what you’re getting and probably enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy raunchy, shocking humor, especially from the perspective of children, you’ll have a bad time with Good Boys. While at times it pushes the envelope a little too much for its own good, Good Boys is powered by three uniquely talented lead actors and a story that blends hilarious jokes with the sentimental reality of going through puberty.
The film follows Max (Trembley), Lucas (Williams), and Thor (Noon), three sixth graders attempting to navigate their changing world and changing bodies. When the three of them get invited to their first sixth grade party, the three of them must take down the obstacles in their way and face peril that most tweens would never imagine. The elements of Good Boys that make it so successful is it combines the outrageous sense of humor with three distinctively unique characters that represent this difficult time in a boy’s life. Whether it’s Max’s first crush, Thor trying to balance what he likes versus what is cool, and Lucas dealing with his parent’s divorce, all three showcase different scenarios that children start to go through at this age but do so in a way that makes everything funny. It’s strange to see a movie like this considering how absurd and exaggerated most of these situations are, but its absurdism is grounded in reality which makes the points that much more effective. I don’t remember too many sixth graders that ran across highways or fought in a frat house, but the ideas surrounding these events are some most people can relate to. Speaking of the absurdity, let’s cut straight to the point; Good Boys is crude. Like most of Seth Rogen’s other movies it goes to great lengths to shock and get a reaction from the audience and it certainly does that for most of the movie. If you want a movie with simple things like finesse, tact, or subtlety, you won’t find any of these things in Good Boys. Sure the film is actually pretty smart for the majority of the 89 minute runtime, but there’s only so much you can do in a scene where sixth-graders are handling anal beads. That being said, the movie still provides a strong balance of comedy that resonates with viewers and comedy that fun based on the situation or line. This is well-written and thought out script from Stupnitsky and provides us a great directorial debut from him. We know from his time writing for The Office that Stupnitsky has a gift for creating a world that is awkward and realistic yet hilarious and that continues to be the case in Good Boys. When that talent is combined with Rogen’s green light to create a world with no boundaries and Good Boys ends up as one of the best comedies of the summer.
Overall, I was a little concerned that the age of the protagonists may end up creating situations that are too awkward for their own good, but Good Boys rides the line brilliantly and provides us joke after joke that range from the awkwardness of puberty to just flat out hilarious one-liners. There’s a certain amount of heart in this movie that brings you back to what many would describe as the worst in their life, but now that we’re past it we can look back and laugh at some of our awkwardness. This summer has been lacking any sort of truly great raunchy comedy, and through the same formula that has worked for Rogen for his entire career, Good Boys bucks the trend and cements itself as a truly funny movie.
Overall Score: 7.5/10