Seth Rogen-produced comedy Good Boys depicts foul-mouthed tweens to charming effect.
It’s a familiar story—a group of youngsters approaching a coming of age moment get up to all sorts of comedic hijinks, in over their heads, and generate some knowing bawdy laffs from the audience. Except this time, it’s a trio of 12-year-olds instead of teenagers, and a typical losing-their-virginity comedy gets appropriately scaled down to attending their first kissing party. Basically, everything else in the teen comedy template remains the same as they (for example) swear like troopers, seek answers about how to kiss from a porn site, misunderstand the purpose of anal beads, and find themselves mixed up in a drug deal.
Good Boys’ comfortable predictability makes it easy enough to enjoy, as does the often exuberant profanity of its leads. Yes, this is played for laughs. Yes, it’s a teeny (tweeny?) bit outrageous. No, this does not let up throughout the film—and yes, that is a good thing. The age of the leads lends itself to a very believable level of inexperience—they wield F-bombs with very little sexual awareness, a blind spot mined thoroughly for laughs (as is a squirmingly embarrassing father-son masturbation chat). And as the film also makes clear, these inexperienced boys nevertheless have unwavering morals regarding consent and drug use, and the results are charmingly less borderline misogynist-horndog than some teen equivalents.
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Leading the trio is Max (Jacob Tremblay, Brie Larson’s co-star in her Oscar-winning turn in 2015’s Room), whose crush on a classmate drives his obsession to figure out this kissing stuff. You’d consider him a pretty good kid, if it weren’t for this motivation completely overwhelming any contemplation of consequences, but hey, what kind of movie would that be? Max’s comrades-in-arms—straight-laced, painfully honest Lucas and born performer Thor—round out the trio, and predictably when the 89-minute run time is up, their friendship will have been put to the test, and maybe even evolved.
None of this is going to be particularly surprising or innovative to an audience, but you know what? It doesn’t have to be. Boasting some laugh out loud moments, plenty of chuckles, the requisite amount of cameo appearances, some great encounters with the “cool kids” at school, and three boys who turn out to be pretty sweet at heart, Good Boys is what you want from this sort of comedy (if not much more). Just remember it’s got heaps of F-bombs. And anal beads. And some drugs.