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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: The Bad News for Innocence in "Good Boys"

Aug 16, 2019 04:07PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Brady Noon, Jacob Tremblay, and Keith L. Williams in Good Boys - © 2019 Universal.

Good Boys (Universal)

Rated R for strong crude sexual content, drug and alcohol material, and language throughout - all involving tweens.

Starring Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams, Will Forte, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, Josh Caras, Christian Darrel Scott, Lil Rel Howery, Sam Richardson, Retta, Millie Davis, Chance Hurtsfield, Izaac Wang, Benita Ha, Michaela Watkins, Lee Eisenberg, Stephen Merchant.

Written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky.

Directed by Gene Stupnitsky.



It seems that it’s a good thing to be bad these days, especially in raunchy movie comedies. The formula is pretty simple: just try and insert more sexualized humor, F-bombs and cartoonish violence than the last film of this type. The going trend implies that the more obscene stuff you can fit into each movie will show correlating results of increased laughter. I disagree with this idea as I’ve witnessed a wide arrangement of cinematic garbage that relies on shock value rather than things that are actually funny, like clever dialogue, parody, satire, and absurdity. So, Seth Rogen (one of the greatest perpetrators of this recent trend) and his pals thought it would be a good idea to “lather, rinse, and repeat” this formula with the added twist of adding preadolescent boys to the mix in Good Boys, in theaters this week.

It’s the story of best friends Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon), and Lucas (Keith L. Williams), 5th graders on a quest to learn how to kiss girls prior to their attendance at a “kissing party” at the end of the school year. They use a drone owned by Max’s father (Will Forte) to spy on two teenage college-age neighbors (Molly Gordon and Midori Francis) and learn more of the feminine way. Their plans hit a snag when the women steal their drone, but the boys steal one the women’s purses which contains their party drugs. When the drone is destroyed, the boys hold the girl’s drugs for ransom until they can get a replacement drone. The boys take on major risks like crossing a busy freeway, selling expensive RPG cards to a creepy trader (Stephen Marchant), and taking on a fraternity using a paintball gun. By the end of their adventure, their friendship is tested, and they learn more than they bargained for regarding girls, sex, drugs and other trappings of adolescence.

Good Boys relies on one simple gag that plays out immediately and often during the movie, which is the absurd idea of three young boys using all sorts of obscene language regarding sex and other adult vices – without understanding the true meanings behind the raunchy terms they are using. It’s as if the boys are writing their own version of the Urban Dictionary, making up the definitions of sexual terms as they go along. Yes, it’s funny at first, but it gets old fast, and all we’re left with is a movie about clueless, yet foul-mouthed boys.

I’m not entirely comfortable giving a pass to adult filmmakers who cast children in such roles, but I’m not naïve enough to think that kids don’t already know a lot about the adult sexual vices seen and heard in Good Boys, either. Then again, if I wouldn’t let my 11-year old kid see this movie, why should anyone allow a child to say and act out such filth? There’s a reason most adults don’t use that kind of language in front of kids and I don’t believe anyone should check their adult responsibilities at the theater door in the name of cheap laughs. If you think it’s okay to have an adult laugh at the expense of otherwise innocent kids, go right ahead. I’d prefer to allow kids the opportunity to grow up with less filth.

"Good Boys" Trailer