Movie Review: “Good Boys”
Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon) have begun a new year of school. The three have been close friends since kindergarten and refer to their group as “The Bean Bag Boys” because they hang out on bean bags. With a new year of school starting, the members of the group want to build their reputations as “cool” kids, and Max also wants to kiss a girl that he has a crush on. However, their goals will not be easy ones to accomplish.
None of the boys know how to kiss a girl, so they decide to spy on a couple a teenagers. This mission goes horribly wrong, and the boys find themselves in quite a bit of trouble. They are on a quest to become cool kids, fix their mistake before they get caught, and are on the run from the teenagers. Tensions rise in their friendship and they drastically misunderstand sexual paraphernalia that they encounter. They started this journey together, but it may cause them to grow apart along the way.
The Pros & Cons
The Bean Bag Boys (+6pts)
The Comedy (+5pts)
The Girls & The Plot (-4pts)
Kid Problems (+5pts)
The Crying, The Swearing, and The Ending (-3pts)
Pro: The Bean Bag Boys (+6pts)
In my opinion, the best thing about this movie was The Bean Bag Boys and the actors in these roles. The characters each brought a different personality to this group, but they all complemented each other really well. The actors had really great chemistry together, which really made me feel like these kids had known each other and been close friends for their entire lives. The filmmakers did not setup the characters’ pasts, but their friendship was setup well and their unique personalities did the rest.
Max was the main character who was primarily responsible for driving the plot forward, but do not mistake that to mean that the character did not have his fair share of comedy. Jacob Tremblay is a very talented young actor so had no problem taking the lead role and he handled it well. He had good comedic timing, kept me entertained, and did a great job with the drama whenever the character needed that from him. Lucas and Thor (played by Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon, respectively) were the two secondary characters whose primary focus was delivering comedy. Thor was desperate to become a cool kid, while Lucas was focused on doing the right thing and maintaining their friendship, and they both had plenty of comedic moments as well. Together, this was a fun group of characters played by actors who played their respective parts well.
Con: Random (-2pts)
I do not have a ton to say about this, and it really did not hurt the movie much, but the beginning of the movie felt like it needed some work. The editing felt really choppy, which made the beginning of the movie feel like a random sequence of events. These scenes did not feel connected in a smooth, natural way. This gave me the impression that the movie was originally longer, but the filmmakers had to cut some scenes out to keep the runtime down, and they ended up cutting too much from the beginning of the movie. Again, this did not hurt the movie much, but the chopped up editing made the beginning of the movie feel somewhat random and incoherent.
Pro: The Comedy (+5pts)
The comedy, for the most part, worked, but I did not have any laugh-out-loud moments. I was never in hysterical laughter, or anything close, but the movie kept making me laughing mildly, or chuckling, from beginning to end. Most of the comedy came from the the types of problems that kids had to deal with and their childlike perspective on those problems, but I will get into that comedy later in this review. The rest of the comedy came from the craziness that ensued throughout this story and the different situations the kids found themselves in. Again, there were no big, laugh-out-loud moments for me, but the comedy was effective in the sense that it kept me fairly entertained throughout the movie’s duration.
Con: The Girls & The Plot (-4pts)
These two issues were somewhat unrelated, but I thought both needed some more attention from the writers. First, the girls’ actions and their motivations seemed a bit far fetched. I get what the girls’ motivations were. They were after something, but the lengths that they were willing to go to seemed exaggerated and unrealistically irrational. Then, they all of a sudden became more rational when it was convenient for the writers for them to be more rational. I thought these characters were important for the story, but thought that the writers needed to give their involvement a bit more attention.
The plot of this movie also seemed a bit incoherent. Without giving anything away, there were a lot that these characters were trying to do, and it was hard to tell what the main story was or how each of the side storylines were relevant. They were trying to get beer so they could be cool kids, they were trying to get Max and his crush together, they were trying to get a drone, and it was hard to tell what it was all for. Because these all felt like randomly connected goals, the movie did not feel like it built toward anything which made it hard to get truly invested in what was happening.
Pro: Kid Problems (+5pts)
A lot of this movie’s funnier moments came from the types of problems that these kids faced, as well as their childlike perspective of adult things. The kids’ beer challenge, their fear of kissing, and the incredible distance they have to travel to get to the mall are all great examples of the types of problems these kids faced in this movie. These problems worked so well, comedically, because these “issues” are nothing that an adult (or even teenager) would have any difficulty with. Nonetheless, they were significant challenges for these kids.
This movie had the opportunity to present familiar issues and things, but from the perspective of a child. This worked well, comedically, with the problems that the kids faced, but it also worked just as well with their innocent views of adult things. From tampons, to adult toys, and even french kissing, these kids had very childlike and naive views of some comically adult things. Between each of the major plot points, this naive perspective was able to add plenty of comedy to keep the audience entertained.
Con: The Crying, The Swearing, and The Ending (-3pts)
The first two of these issues were pretty minor, but they were noteworthy enough to throw into this review somewhere. First, the crying. The three main kids go on quite the emotional journey, and the characters cry in a few scenes. Now I have seen Jacob Tremblay cry in other movies, and I have seen him do it well, so I know he is capable of it. However, the filmmakers seemed to prefer fake crying where they add water or wax to the kids’ faces and have the young actors pretend to cry. Maybe the intent was for this fake crying to work comedically, but it did not and just looked like cheap filmmaking. The second minor issue was the swearing, which had a place in this type of movie, but the frequency of it made it feel like an overused joke. It felt as if the filmmakers had the kids swear a few times, found it funny, then threw it in the movie as many times as humanly possible, to the point where the joke became stale.
The movie then ended in a way that seemed to undermine everything that the kids were working toward. I do not want to give anything away, but it felt like the main story had its conclusion, then the filmmakers crammed this movie’s sequel into the last few scenes of the movie. In other words, the story ended. Then the movie sort of fast forwarded through a bunch of major things in a montage sequence. These things were not relevant to the story that led up to this point, and would have been better suited for a sequel if audiences wanted to see one.
Grade: B- (82pts)
I liked the idea for this movie, a group of kids facing adult themes was a fun idea to see explored. Some of the swearing definitely felt forced, and the crying felt very fake, but the comedy mostly worked. Were there any big laugh-out-loud moments? Not for me (although some moments may hit you harder), but the movie definitely kept me laughing throughout.
The group of main characters were setup well, and their unique personalities complemented each other. The comedy that worked best was related to the types of problems that the kids faced, as well as how seriously they treated those problems, and the kids’ innocent and naive perspective of the adult things they encountered. Unfortunately, the plot felt messy, and the ending seemed to make the whole thing feel irrelevant. I disagree with the reviews that have hated on this movie, but I also disagree with the reviews that say the movie was amazing. I found it to be moderately entertaining, but it certainly had its issues.