Tweens walk the line between innocence and debauchery in this good-natured flick but is it good enough to see in theaters? See what our critic has to say.
|“I don’t think that drone is flying to wherever are friends are playing Fortnite …” Lucas (Keith L. Williams), Max (Jacob Tremblay) and Thor (Brady Noon) in a scene from GOOD BOYS. Credit: Ed Araquel/Universal Pictuers. © 2019 Universal Studios.|
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KEY CAST MEMBERS: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon, Lil Rel Howery, Retta, Izaac Wang, Millie Davis, Josh Caras, Will Forte and Midori Francis
DIRECTOR(S): Gene Stupnitsky
THE BACK STORY: Three best friends – Lucas (Keith L. Williams), Thor (Brady Noon) and Max (Jacob Tremblay) – are adjusting to life in 6th grade when they one of them gets invited to a party that could change their life. That’s because the party is a kissing party and Max’s crush Brixlee (Millie Davis) is going to be there.
Unfortunately for Max and his two friends a.k.a. “The Bean Bag Boys,” none of them have any idea how to kiss, so they find themselves in a panic of trying to learn on the fly. This leads to the bright idea to use Max’s dad’s (Will Forte) work drone to spy on Hannah (Molly Gordon) and her boyfriend Benji (Josh Caras), who Hannah and her friend Lily (Midori Francis) to show up with the drugs for their road trip to Chicago. So … What happens when the he boys inadvertently find themselves on the run from Hannah and Lily and needing to replace Max’s dad’s work property?
A whole lot of things that your average sixth grader isn’t prepared to handle, that’s for sure.
THE REVIEW: A comedy that rides a fine line between showing its trio of leads as innocent youngsters … Who also can be a tad foul-mouthed and too knowledgeable for their own good, Good Boys is a funny, entertaining romp that is more sweet than it is sinful. But when the film is sinful, it’s likely going to be more than the average parent (moreso than their children) can likely handle given the exposure to sex toys, drugs and alcohol and hearing three kids who look as innocent as our makeshift heroes do curse. But therein lies the hook of the film as the boys are not troublemakers out to looking to do foul things; instead, they are more apt to try and do the right thing in the most ludicrous of situations, which is what results in the film’s best moments more often than not.
Whereas Jacob Tremblay (Room) does a good job of serving as the group’s makeshift leader, Keith L. Williams constant snitching on the trio’s misdeeds (even when they weren’t doing anything that wrong) plays well for comedic effect affect against Thor’s wannabe bad boy (who really doesn’t) act. Thus, you get a mix of kids trying to do what all children do at their age: Trying to become more mature and find their way in the world even though it’s obvious to almost anyone looking they have no clue what they’re doing.
That strive to maintain the innocence of the characters does restrain Good Boys at times from reaching its potential peak hilarity as there are several moments you can feel that either director Gene Stupnitsky or the film’s producers said “let’s not push further than this.” This creates a bit of a catch-22 for the audience, for once you’ve found yourself laughing at a boy giving his crush a necklace that is NOT a necklace, you’ve pretty much already gone past the “see, we’re not pushing the envelope that far” notion. At its essence, Good Boys is a film about trying to maintain a childlike innocence in a world where that is increasingly hard to do and growing up through and overcoming adversity … Just with more items you’d expect to find in your closet than your kid’s.
So …. If you’re looking for a comedy with heart and spirit that also will make sure to talk to your kids about staying out of mommy and/or daddy’s drawers when they’re not at home, Good Boys will likely win your heart with laughs a plenty. If you’d rather not look at your young middle schooler and have to have a conversation on the way home in the car, you might wish to sit this one out or – as some of the parents at the advance screening yours truly attended – leave them at home.
Just don’t say that no one warned you what you were getting into.