Time to ask the age old question: Is elementary school aged kids repeatedly saying fuck and other curse words while telling endless dick and fart jokes still funny? Why yes, yes it is. What if that is the film’s entire 89 minute run time combined with being an almost exact remake of Superbad, does it still work? Yes, why yes it still does somehow. That’s what the new movie GOOD BOYS is, just pure, stupid, dumb, crude, crass, hilarious escapism, turn off your brain fun. It’s short, sweet, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Is it the greatest movie in the world if picked apart scene by scene? Of course not. Probably won’t even be on my twenty top films of the year list. But will it somehow be a film that I just put on one boring afternoon with nothing else to do? Multiple, multiple times yes. There haven’t been a lot of comedies this summer, unless you count the great Long Shot that literally almost no one saw, so if there is a funny bone you are needing to pick soon, and are still trying to recover from the vast Once Upon A Time In Hollywood or a binge-able weekend of Amazon Prime’s The Boys, Good Boys fits that bill.
The plot? Three elementary boys that are close friends, who are just a couple of weeks into the sixth grade, must get ready to go to a party that one of the popular kids invited them to, and it happens to be a kissing party, and none of them have kissed a girl before. Sound familiar? Replace high schoolers with elementary school kids, replace a drinking party with a kissing one, keep 1/4 of the booze, keep the friendly camaraderie and chemistry between the male leads, keep the road trip like adventures but replace the other 3/4 of the booze trying to replace one of their Dad’s expensive drones, and you’ve successfully turned Superbad into Good Boys. But it still works, because all the road trip adventures are quite different, it has a really smart and really funny ending/third act, and I literally laughed almost every ten seconds from beginning to end. If a comedic film makes you laugh a shit ton of times, it has done its job, no matter the context (well…there are exceptions).
Kid actor Jacob Trembelay, who has had a hell of a career after starring in Room with Brie Larson, is the main character named Max, and although he said I think one F word in the recent Predator movie, to hear a bunch of curse words and dick and fart jokes constantly was quite jarring, but also quite hilarious. And I can see how he is getting a lot of work, he stretches his talent considerably here, seeing he has already been in a depressing drama, a dramady, and an action film, and now with this, a straight comedy, kid can literally do anything. It helps that his chemistry with the other two boys, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon, is so good that you believe that they have been friends for years. They are the stars of the show, but the supporting characters that surround them, like two teenage girls trying to get their drugs back from them, Will Forte as Max’s father, or even Stephen Merchant playing a weird sex doll crazed nerd do their small parts well to bring even more laughs to the party.
There are a couple of scenes that don’t work, and you may have seen this in the trailer, but where they are crossing a highway to get to a mall has been done so many countless times where that’s the only part that put a halt in my laughter a little bit. Otherwise, anything with the drone, a sex doll, the drug Molly, the two teenage girls, the cop that just wants his shift to end, the actual party, beer sip records, etc, etc, etc are hilarious and almost had my belly hurting laughing so hard. And I mentioned it earlier, but I thought the 3rd act/ending of the film was really, really, really smart and inventive and kind of made the film go from just a dumb young kid crude cursing movie into a pretty good dumb young kid crude cursing movie. I won’t spoil any of it, but it has to deal with the passage of time and how it relates to younger kids. You’ll see, it’s brilliant.
What really surprised me was that it was written and directed by two guys that haven’t really done all that much and what they have done is kind of meh. Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg wrote Bad Teacher, which was meh, they wrote a couple of decent episodes of The Office (but none of the great ones IMO), but they also wrote Harold Ramis’ terrible last film with Jack Black and Michael Cera called Year One. It’s because of that movie that you didn’t see a Ghostbusters 3 when Ramis was still alive (they were writing the screenplay and it kept getting rejected). This is honestly their best work. Maybe I would look forward to their future projects if they can keep this momentum, there is only improvement from here. So if you are looking for a pretty damn solid hilarious comedy on the weekend of August 16th (when it comes out, I saw a sneak preview), Good Boys gets a solid B/B+ from me. Looking at what all comes out in August, it might be your only decent option for the month (jury still out on Hobbs & Shaw, review this Friday).