Movie #251 2020: Good Boys (2019)

Coming of age movies are really making a comeback recently. Weirdly, you’ll notice that the majority of them are catered more towards young girls. (Lady Bird, The Edge of Seventeen, Book Smart, etc.) No, I’m not saying guys can’t watch (and enjoy them) but the protagonists of late seem to always be female.

Enter Good Boys.

Starring Jacob Tremblay (yep, the kid from Room) as perhaps the leader of the pack, Good Boys is an uncensored look at a group of young boys aged 11 and 12, who are going through that awkward puberty stage. When it comes down to it, the three friends in the forefront are on a mission to replace a drone they destroyed before their parents get home, but – obviously – things don’t go quite so smoothly as accepted. Between being forced to acquire drugs and going to a ”kissing party”, the adolescents show the world what it’s like to be going through all of this stuff in this day and age.

Is this supposed to be a parody of how grown men act? Because if so, it’s hilarious. And also probably accurate. It’s quite evident that these scriptwriters (Gene Stupnitsky – who also directs the film – and Lee Eisenberg) really knew what they wanted to say here: that grown men are just little boys who pretend to know what they’re doing. Though it’s not completely clear if any of these things happened to them in real life, it’d be very surprising to learn that at least some of these events aren’t based on truth. And that’s what makes it so funny.

Every young actor in this is absolutely brilliant, particularly Keith L. Williams who is flawless. Whilst one can’t be sure if he purposely made his character so nuanced, here we are being schooled by a 12 year old actor. Of course any good film about kids is glued together by a cast of talented adults on the sideline, and this one has Retta and Stephen Merchant to name but two, so that box is definitely ticked here. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that I rarely have anything bad to say about casting choices, but this one is as stellar as they come, I promise.

Overlapping some exquisitely funny sequences is a great soundtrack. It’s almost as if The Hangover soundtrack was transported onto an actually decent movie and used to highly comedic effect. Again, all of this ties back in to the hypothesis that this is actually an observation into how adult males actually speak and act, giving the film a sense of completion.

Earlier on, I claimed that this movie was ‘uncensored’, and I meant it. In particular, there are a lot of jokes about sex toys in this. Said sex toy jokes could have easily been the death of this movie if those jokes weren’t funny. The good news is that the whole thing is fucking hilarious so any inappropriateness is laugh out loud comedy rather than cringe-worthy. That’s not to say you won’t be cringing, however, but it is so evident that this was entirely the point that it will make you uncomfortable without making you want to reach for the ‘off’ button.

Is the plot always fully well-rounded? No. Is there enough of a story to fill a full 90 minutes? Not really, when it comes down to the nitty gritty of it. But it’s super fun consistently throughout so it truly does not matter. There’s one particular sequence where the kids are crossing the highway for instance which is so unnecessary, and yet it ends up being one of the best of the film due to its perfectly choreographed physical gags.

In sum, this is quality entertainment. Even if you were never a little boy (like me), there’s definitely something for everyone to relate to here. Remember: we were all young and awkward once.

Good Boys is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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