Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon, Lil Rel Howery, Will Forte, Retta
Director: Gene Stupnitsky
Writer(s): Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky
Runtime: 90 Minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
There’s always that summer comedy that needs to inject that humor into our veins and having its job to make the audience laugh. 2009 gave us The Hangover. 2011 gave us Bridesmaids. Now, 2019 has given us the tween coming-of-age comedy in the form of Good Boys, which makes for a fast-paced, R-rated good time at the movies.
What’s the Story: Best friends and sixth-graders Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucus (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon) are invited to a kissing party by a popular classmate. The problem is that they don’t know how to kiss, and it doesn’t help when Max’s dad’s drone is caught by a teenage girl (Molly Gordon). To get it back, they must skip school and embark on an unforgettable day that leads to many issues along the way.
Good Boys was one of those comedies I’ve been anticipating ever since I heard about the premise and hearing good buzz out of its premiere at SXSW. Also, I’ve seen every trailer before every R-rated movie and just laugh my head off at them every time. But when you have a comedy that’s produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, that’s a guarantee that it will likely deliver. The only comedies that were actually funny during the summer were Long Shot and Booksmart, respectively. But even though Good Boys isn’t exactly perfect, this is still one of the better comedies to come out this year, and I had a blast.
Gene Stupnitsky makes his directorial debut with this mainstream comedy. He also co-wrote the script with his friend Lee Eisenberg, who’ve worked on several episodes of The Office. For a first-time director, he knows how to direct comedy well enough to the point of not being overbearing and knowing when to cut a joke before it goes over-the-top. A story that involves teenagers getting involved with drugs and ditching school has been done times before in classic movies, but at least it gets away with how predictable it can be. You take a look at what else they wrote in the past, and it’s safe to say this is their funniest work by far.
But you go into Good Boys just to see these three friends go on a crazy day, and Tremblay, Williams, and Noon played off each other so well. All three of them share fantastic chemistry that I believe that have been friends for a long time. They call themselves “Beanbag Boys” for good reasons and would probably act and talk what 12-year-olds would today.
Tremblay continues to honestly be one of my favorite young actors working today. Noon hasn’t been a ton of work, but his performances as Thor hits close to home to those who want to fit in. Out of the trio, though, it was Williams that had me laughing the most as Lucus. The innocence of the character just makes for some hard laughs that payoff easily. After this movie, studios need to be looking out for this kid because he’s going places.
Is it funny to pay a full-price ticket? I believe so. I didn’t know if this comedy was going to stay fresh since it could get tiring hearing tweens swear for 90 minutes and that’s the gag throughout. It is that, but the laughs kept on coming every five minutes. So many of the jokes came by surprise and pretty raunchy from the glimpse that came from the trailers. The rest of the audience also had a hand in laughing at the best moments.
As for problems, not all of the jokes lands and the script kind of relies on repetition with repeated jokes. Then when it got to the third act, they did start to scatter the laughs and it stopped being funny before the ending.
But what Good Boys surprisingly has is a meaningful message that can apply to anybody, and that is when you tend to grow older, sometimes you need to grow up and it not being able to be friends with the people you knew since a certain age might not be there for everything in the future. Unexpected, but that’s the truth we all had to face when we were young. In here, different arcs following Max, Thor, and Lucus, and I ultimately cared about what was being dealt with.
If you’re not into kids dropping f-bombs for comedic purposes, there’s no reason to see Good Boys if that’s not your style. For the rest that just wants a comedy to gets some levity in your system, it’s worth the time to check it out. I saw myself cracking up throughout and left with a grin after it was over. It isn’t on the same level of similar great teen movies like Superbad or Booksmart (fun fact: both trailers came out the same morning), but all I wanted was the gets a ton of laughs, and it succeeded.