Twelve years after "Superbad" took the genre of R-rated coming-of-age raunchy teen comedies to new heights comes "Good Boys," co-written and directed by Gene Stupnitsky, a frequent writer for "The Office" in his directorial debut. The main gist is three sixth-graders, known as the Beanbag Boys, are preparing to go to their first "kissing party." Here's what the reviews are saying:
These Tweens Drop The F-Bomb A Lot
The expletives start early in the new comedy "Good Boys." In one of the first scenes, 12-year-old Max (Jacob Tremblay of "Room,"), playing in his bedroom, enhances a female video-game character to make her breasts larger. "Fudge, yeah!" he says enthusiastically, except with a much saltier word in place of that "fudge." That sets the stage for a raunchy yet sincere movie that feels something like "Superbad" meets "The Sandlot," by way of "American Pie."
If you think a 12-year-old saying "fuck" is kinda funny—and for the record, I'm not judging you—then you'll probably have fun with "Good Boys." There are a bunch of 12-year-olds in it, and they all say "fuck" a lot, which also doubles as the film's plot synopsis.
The film rests on the comic potential of kids swearing like it's a "South Park" audition. But the three at the center of what passes for the story find themselves on the cusp of a new, uncertain phase of life.
They use it constantly. It's a tool to liven up a dull moment, add an accent to a joke or even stand as just the joke itself. Apparently there is really nothing funnier than a sweet-faced 11-year-old saying dirty words. Every 'fuck' in Good Boys registers as a quota filled, or a nickel pouring out of a slot machine and into a plastic cup. It's a little dispiriting that the R-rated film's commercial imperative to have as many obscenities in it as possible overrides most everything else, especially its commitment to its otherwise well-drawn characters
It's Very Similar To "Superbad"
Produced by none other than Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, "Good Boys" again most closely resembles a kind of junior-varsity tryout for that duo's "Superbad", down to its modestly affecting emotional through-line: an acceptance of the fact that childhood friendships, forged out of proximity and convenience, aren't always destined to last.
The new movie apes the structure and even copies the conclusion of "Superbad," but the only inspiration at work here is the desire to make a "Superbad" knockoff.
Those comparisons are fair, and fairly accurate. The comedy, produced by "Superbad's" writer/producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, hits all the expected marks for raunch and vulgarity, with the bonus that it is actually also kind of sweet.
Despite Being Raunchy, The Movie Is Surprisingly Wholesome
Much of the movie's fun is in how bite-size the hijinks are. In the world of "Good Boys," three sips of a beer is an unfathomable extreme.
"Good Boys" indeed has its share of dirty jokes, but the best gag of all is that its protagonists don't understand any of them.
[The characters are] so earnest and well-intentioned that they might not even seem real. Aghast at the mere mention of drug use, they're appalled when they learn that two older neighborhood teenagers (played by Molly Gordon and Midori Francis) have procured some MDMA to take at a concert.
"Good Boys" is a movie where childhood innocence—a game of Spin the Bottle, bike rides through a sprinkler, the camaraderie of young friendship—intersects with a profane punch of wild, rollicking, ribald comedy, purified with the sunshine of genuine sweetness. These "Good Boys" really are good boys.
A charming study of masculinity and friendship, the movie makes the case that "goodness" is a measure of how boys perceive themselves in relation to others.
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