The Stream: A predictable, raunchy comedy aimed at tweens.
The Big Screen: Nevertheless, some big, unexpected laughs and nice chemistry between the main leads
The Final Bill: The tweens the movie is about may get a kick out of it. Everyone else can skip the theater for this one.-Trip Fontaine
If teen comedies are to be believed, there comes a time in every young man’s life where he and a group of his dutiful pals must run amok for a day or night, getting up to all kinds of shenanigans for the sake of maybe a little attention from his dream girl. McLovin and his friends did it. The American-Pie-guys had a bet that consumed prom night. Ferris took a famous day off. I guess this trope has trickled down to the tween-set. Good Boys has the 12-year-old, newly-minted 6th graders doing it. They are desperate to be cool, while both trying to find their place in middle school and hold on to who they’ve always been. It’s a pretty standard, raunchy R-rated are romp with big laughs but ultimately a predictable plot.
The Beanbag Boys are the titular Good Boys, played by Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon. They are a group a friends, who were pretty nerdy but always supportive of each other; and, now, the transition to middle school leads to questions of whether these BFF are really forever. The main plot though has the boys running from the villainous older neighbor girl and her friend trying to get their drugs, replacing a broken drone, and all with the goal of going to a kissing party at the coolest 6th grader’s home. Some very funny stuff happens throughout. Why is it so funny when people get hurt? Dislocated arms, paintballs to the nether regions, etc. There’s also a running joke involving sex toys. You have to see to believe.
The lead young actors are good. They hit all the notes that are supposed to be there. Tremblay, who was such a revelation in Room, shows that he has some comedic chops. Williams perfectly plays the most rule-abiding kid dealing with some family troubles. When the inevitable moral of the story comes around, the emotional climax feels earned. The problem is that the movie is rated R in order to keep in the strong language and sex toy jokes, but the moral is more suited for a younger audience. As an adult, although I laughed a lot, I wondered why am I watching these 12-year-olds try to go to a kissing party. It’s like watching a 2-year-old discover the F-word. Sure, that’s funny for a bit, but it’s also completely inappropriate and a bad reflection on the parent.
Side note: Will Forte shows up as Jacob Tremblay’s dad. He, of course, is hilarious in his few minutes of screen time.
Ultimately, while Good Boys is funny, you’ve probably seen it before; and therefore, it’s not necessary to watch it in the theater. If you are 12 years old and you can get your older sibling to buy you a ticket, you’ll laugh your head off. For the rest of you, kick back one night when it’s streaming, get your beanbag, your boys or girls, a bowl of popcorn and chuckle at these shenanigans.