“GOOD BOYS” starring Jacob Trembley, Keith Williams, and Brady Noon is coming to theaters this weekend. Gene Stupnitsky makes his full-feature directorial debut in this one that is produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg among others. Which should tell you this will be a raunchy film that doesn’t not hold back, much in the fashion of “Superbad” or “Sausage Party”. The story follows three friends in the sixth grade, that are hoping to make it to their first boy/girl middle school party. The problem is, they don’t know how to kiss, so they decide to use one of their fathers drones to spy on the neighbor hoping so see something that could help. It naturally doesn’t go well, and ignites a journey of stolen drugs, sex dolls, cops, sipping beers, and even some personal enlightenment as well.
Overall, I have to say this film was a great time. It certainly will not be for everyone. The raunchy humor coming from kids is not going to be to everyone’s liking. However, the trailers sell this one for exactly what it is. If the promo material has made you laugh, then the movie is definitely going to work for you. If you didn’t find the humor effective, then I would say pass because this film delivers a barrage of crude laughs for a solid 90-minutes. But what works in its favor to me, is that underneath all the sex and drug fueled dialogue is a sincere story of childhood adolescence. With three great performances from the young leads that make their characters unassumingly endearing.
It’s without question filled with shock-value laughs and scenarios. But in my opinion, they never felt like cheap or lazy laughs. I actually found the dialogue to be surprisingly witty and clever in its delivery of the outlandish but semi-realistic subject matter. I remember my days as a kid, unknowing about sex, drugs, and life’s existence outside of my circle of friends within the small town in lived in. For that aspect this film was nostalgic as it brought about memories of my old group of friends. And regardless of the wildly raunchy tone and situations presented routinely in this story. Not much felt that over embellished in terms of the interactions between the three friends that called themselves ‘The Beanbag Boys’. Sure, there were some crazy situations created inside the story to build more adventure to it that certainly are not common for kids in their normal lives.
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But for the sake of comedic storytelling it all worked together nicely to give the progression a smooth flow with continual waves of solid amusement. The convenience store scene most will remember from the trailers with the cop was well-crafted, comical and honestly a little nostalgic because it was grounded. Then for example there’s a frat house scene that would be an example of Hollywood storytelling. But it was still completely hilarious and gave the film a surprising splash of fun paintball filled action. So, for that aspect I thought all the realistic angles to the story, mixed with the more fictionalized dynamics nicely. They complemented one another and it was because the writing did try too hard to force spectacle.
The overall absurdity was kept at a steady level. I think it allowed the underlying story of these three friends coming to terms with the notion that the world is much bigger than their child-hood bond to not be lost in the mix. There was a routine focus on this more humanized angle, and it enabled me to connect with it. This also allowed the performances to create characters you could invest in much more than you often can for characters in raunch-coms. They genuinely felt like real kids, not over bloated character-types design simply for the sake of delivering crude humor. Those types of characters lack human elements you can relate with but that was not the case with here. There was a sincerity to them, and each had their own emotional layering that was able to actually create a heartfelt story within all the drug and sex references and situations that were the spotlight.
This movie was able to be completely raunchy and hysterical one minute, and genuine the next without feeling contrived. The humor is birthed from the story and it doesn’t stray from that formula by overloading it with cheap joke attempts and forced or recycled laughs. The conversations between Tremblay, Williams, and Noon on their own capture endless waves of amusement and much of it is because of the blatant childhood ignorance of them all. The three leads were fantastic in their roles and their casual delivery is what makes the tone work. There is also a great collection of side characters that keep things moving by injecting the narrative with their own various personality types. This was able to keep the mood and tone upbeat while watching which is always a positive is these types of comedies.
The film does have a familiar feel and structure to it. The direction from Stupnitsky seems inspired by past Rogen/Goldberg collaborations in terms of how its edited, the use of slow-motion, and other familiar techniques. But again, it more than works for the needs of the story and does add some effective styling. The soundtrack is fantastic as well with a great collection of songs that do boost scenes when needed. The music does a great job of creating an appealing atmosphere that can lure you into following these three kids throughout the mission of a day like they have never experienced by building just enough intrigue. For what it intended to be, what is sold itself as, and what it delivered – I think it was a success. It doesn’t hang around too long and with its intention of being a raunchy comedy, it certainly does the job. More laughs land than those that didn’t, and the same would go for the situational humor as well. So, if you’re interested in this and want some crude laughs, this is the film for you because in addition to the amusement, you might be surprised at the connection you get with these young characters.