GOOD BOYS (2019)

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.


by Miguel E. Rodriguez

Director: Olivia Wilde
Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Billie Lourd
My Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 98% Certified Fresh

PLOT: Two over-achieving high-school seniors (Dever, Feldstein) decide to experience, at long last, the party life on the night before graduation.

Booksmart goes on the list of the best comedies of the new millennium, along with Bridesmaids, Superbad, and a few others.  It is simply told, hilariously funny, and genuinely touching when it comes to the two lead characters and their friendship, which is put to the test when they decide to venture WAY out of their comfort zone for one last night of partying before senior high graduation.

If the trailers make Booksmart look a little like a female version of Superbad or American Pie, well, maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because hopefully that will drive people to the theatre, people who wouldn’t normally care about a girl-centric comedy that doesn’t involve losing-our-virginity pacts or having carnal relations with flutes and baked goods.

In fact, the trajectory of the story most closely resembles certain comedies from the early ‘80s, the ones where everything (or ALMOST everything) happens in one crazy night, with the main characters bouncing from one bizarre scene to another, all in pursuit of that one legendary party.  Booksmart feels like the R-rated girl-power comedy that John Hughes never got the chance to make.

I don’t want to tick off the different situations in which the heroines find themselves; that would be giving too much away.  But I will mention one scene that is worth the price of admission.  The two girls find themselves at a murder-mystery-themed party, and begin to have a drug-fueled hallucination (long story).  The nature of the hallucination, and the way it manages to induce genuine laughs, while simultaneously making a statement about smashing traditional notions of female beauty, is breathtaking.

The movie does manage to capture real pathos, as well, the kind of teenage heartbreak that is unique in the human experience.  Unfortunately, I felt that the scenes in which this occurs really slow down the momentum of the movie.  However, I can’t imagine the movie being complete without it.  It felt absolutely necessary, no matter how much it may have dragged a bit.

I’m being intentionally vague with a lot of my review here.  I’ve read other reviews that have given WAY too much away, and I’m trying to avoid that here.  I simply wish to convey that this is the funniest movie I’ve seen so far this year (and I LOVED “Long Shot”), and it would be a shame to miss seeing it with a large crowd in a big movie theater.  Don’t miss this one.