Right on the heels of Olivia Wilde’s incredibly smart BOOKSMART arrives the male gendered version of kids trying to be cool while keeping their friendships intact.
The three kids in the film are ironically, never referred to as GOOD BOYS but as BAD BOYS (two other films have already used that title) and other names. The trouble starts when the three are invited to a kissing party, though they have no idea how to kiss.
The film begins, with 12-year old Max caught watching porn on his lap top in his bedroom by his father. Instead of being chastised, his dad is proud that Max is coming of age and tells the mother. It is a funny situation that makes a good start for a pubescent comedy about growing up.
After being invited to his first kissing party, 12-year-old Max (Jacob Tremblay, a Canadian who is also 12 years of age, best known for ROOM) is panicking because he does not know how to kiss. Eager for some pointers, Max and his best friends, Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams), decide to use Max’s dad’s drone, which they are forbidden to touch, to spy on a teenage couple who are making out. But when things go ridiculously wrong, the drone is confiscated by two teenage girls. Desperate to get it back before Max’s dad gets home, the boys skip school and set off an odyssey of epically bad decisions involving some accidentally stolen drugs, frat-house paintball, and running from both the cops and terrifying teenage girls.
GOOD BOYS prides itself as being an adult film about kids. Thus, as expected, there is quite a lot of swearing, even coming out of the mouths of the 12-year olds. Director Stupnisky seems desperate to elicit laughs at any cost.
GOOD BOYS contains a few unforgettable segments involving the growing up process like trying to drink one first beer (remember how awful the first taste was?), trying to cope with adult problems like a parent’s divorce and bullying. Director Stupniksy delivers a very funny ANANBELLE (as in the horror franchise) sequence. Whenever the three boys are having a bonding moment, one of the younger sisters named Annabelle suddenly appears just as in the ANNABELLE movies to scare them out of their wits and invade their privacy. Another has a kid character called Atticus (poking fun at TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD). These two parts got the most laughs out of me. The comedic set-up of the boys crossing a busy highway is also terrifying hilarious.
The kids parents are also given the token nod and not ignored in the film. They are, thankfully, not treated as complete idiots as in many kid-oriented films.
GOOD BOYS, though funny enough is inferior, by inevitable comparison to BOOKSMART which contains funnier jokes, more inventive comedic set-ups with more cinematic surprises (the underwater swimming pool sequence). Still, Stupnisky’s GOOD BOYS contains a few good memories about adolescence.