by Miguel E. Rodriguez
Director: Gene Stupnitsky
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Will Forte, Stephen Merchant
My Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 79% Certified Fresh
PLOT: Three sixth-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.
You will either love Good Boys for the humor, or you will hate it for exactly the same reason. There can be no middle of the road. You will either guffaw through the entire film, as I did, or you will gape in shock at the behavior and language demonstrated by tween boys.
If you’re one of those people who cannot comprehend the humor to be derived from watching curious boys who haven’t yet hit puberty staring at sex toys and wondering what the hell they’re for (“What are ‘a-nahl beads’?”), then this movie is not for you. It’s just not. No amount of philosophizing or rationalization will make it “okay.” The fact that the movie made me laugh pretty much beginning to end carries no weight. I respect your opinion. If you want to stop reading this review, I wouldn’t blame you. Now’s your chance. I don’t want to waste your time. Quit now.
If you kept reading, you’re one of those people like me who laughed through every second of the trailers for this movie, hoping against hope that they didn’t just show us all the funny bits in the trailer. Thank the comedy gods, they didn’t. Good Boys is the funniest movie I’ve seen this year so far, and it may wind up being the funniest comedy of the year.
If you’ve seen the trailers, you know the plot: three 6th-graders accidentally steal some “molly” from two college girls, who offer to trade it for an expensive drone they captured while the boys were using it to spy on them. See, the boys have been invited to a “kissing” party, but they know nothing about kissing, so they were using the drone to spy on these two college girls to see if they would kiss. Before that, they tried using the internet, but instead of just searching for “how to kiss a girl”, they jumped right into searching for “boobies” and “porn”…which did not end well.
Read that last sentence. If I were the father of one of those kids, I would not find that funny. I can understand from an intellectual standpoint how a kid that young can be curious about such things, but if I found out my kid had been searching for that stuff online, as a parent, I’d be upset. So I can see how this movie might put some people off.
But I promise you. This movie magically takes what would be uncomfortable in real life and mines those situations for the kind of belly laughs that I haven’t had in a movie theater since The Hangover. And it’s not salacious or prurient, because they have NO IDEA what they’re looking at, or even talking about. (The description one of them gives for what a tampon is used for is worth the price of admission.)
As the movie progresses, the screenplay doesn’t forget to give us reasons to like these kids. We get glimpses of one of their families in particular, as they inform him they’re getting divorced. (“You’ll get TWO Taco Tuesdays now! Just…one of them will be on Wednesday.”) One of them has a real gift for singing, but doesn’t want to look too uncool, so he doesn’t sign up for an audition. One has a crush on a girl, but is so nervous about her that he talks to his friends about how he hopes one day to make actual eye contact. Too many comedies make the GAGS the point of the film instead of the characters. While the gags are fast and furious in Good Boys, they MEAN more, and are funnier, because we know who these kids are, and what makes them tick.
I’m trying to think of what else to write, but it would just be a catalog of the best gags and lines in the movie. (“I’m gonna be a social piranha!”) I don’t believe finding this movie funny is bad or immoral. I know there are people out there who might think so, and I empathize. But I know what makes me laugh, and I have to be true to myself, so…there you go.