“Good Boys,” is a coming of age story featuring three young best friends who embark upon a journey to learn how to kiss. Think 2007’s “Superbad.” Writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg both team up again to produce this R-rated comedy. The story might be all about the precarious age between being a child and a teenager but it’s R-rated for good reason. Filled with a healthy amount of laugh out loud situations, including crude jokes, f-bombs, and sex-toys, -lots of sex toys.
Lifelong friends, Max, Thor, and Lucas get it into their heads that the only way they can learn to kiss is to spy on their sexy neighbor by using a drone. When that goes awry, the boys set off on an odyssey to replace the drone making one bad decision after another. Whether it’s skipping school, selling drugs, stealing beer, fighting frat boys, or just plain lying to the cops, these boys will be changed forever after this day.
“Good Boys” is a day in the life of young kids who are making that hard transition from child to teenager, better known as a “Tweener.” That in-between age when kids almost get the adult jokes but not quite. As evidence in the film when the boys come up with the idea that they should practice kissing on Thor’s parent’s “CPR doll,” so they won’t look dumb when they attend a kissing party later that week. In actuality, the doll is one of those highly realistic sex dolls. Max practices a kiss and as he pulls away, he asks “why is there hair in her mouth?” It’s disgusting but even more hilarious. “Good Boys” is filled with similar moments that are relatable and sincere thanks to the excellent writing from Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky who seem to capture the essence of sixth grade.
Some of the jokes are raunchy like a necklace given as a gift that is actually a smelly anal bead chain. When the young girl, who is excited to receive the “necklace,” puts it quickly around her neck, and then gets a whiff, she politely removes it. Her expression cracked me up. There’s a healthy balance of kids just being kids, but then thrown in with adult themes that makes “Good Boys” super funny.
“Good Boys” features performances from many young actors including “The Room’s” Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon from HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” and Keith L. Williams from Fox’s “The Last Man On Earth.” All three together are just fantastic. Working with child actors is so challenging for film makers but you would never know it from this film. Also from “The Last Man on Earth” is Will Forte who plays Max’s Dad. Not a lot of screen time from the actor but still a really fine performance from him.
The “R” Movie Rating
There’s a bit of a strange dichotomy going on in this film with it’s rating. It definitely deserves an “R.” You wouldn’t want to bring your kids because of some of the sexual jokes and the strong language the young actors use. On the other hand, the film is about being a kid. It often plays like a PG or PG-13 film. In the end though, the jokes and story definitely play better as an “R” rated film where it stands out and will more than likely play to a specific fan base from previous films in the same vein of humor. Think adult cartoon “Sausage Party” and film “Pineapple Express,” both films previously from Rogen and Goldberg. “Good Boys” borrows some of the style from those previous films, but has a more genuine and earnest feel and less contrived laughs making this the stronger entry from the duo.
“Good Boys” has an R-rating. You can’t help but think it should have been PG-13 in that it would be fun to bring your kids, but to be rated at that level the film would have lost the elements that make it so funny. The antics and misinterpretation of adult situations is part of the film’s realistic and earnest charm. The day in the life may be from through kids’ eyes, but wanting to belong, and be part of the cool kids group is something everyone can relate to. Capturing that on the big screen is comedic gold and a sure-fire good time at the theater for those who love gross out humor. Tons of laughs, with worthy performances from kid actors, and excellent story-telling.
- Strong Story Telling
- Key Performances
- Dynamic Characters
- Crude Humor May Not Have Wide Spread Appeal