More often than not, modern comedy films take a slightly inappropriate or lewd situation and craft a story jam-packed with jokes around that concept to moderate success. Good Boys, however, might just be a step too far. While there are some good jokes that land and there’s a certain charm to three young best friends not quite understanding the world around them as they face growing up together, the sexualisation of the film’s sixth-grade protagonists comes off as more gross than funny.
The trailers alone for Good Boys told you everything you needed to know: this film is just two hours of jokes about drugs, sex and assorted crazy antics committed by kids that are too young to even watch the movie they star in. While their misinformed understandings of relationships and how adults function is cute and funny in the first 20 minutes, the film continues to trudge along without adding anything to this high-concept premise.
A film that would be a fairly lacklustre comedy blockbuster with a teenage or adult cast, the only aspect that makes Good Boys even slightly original is its gearing of these repetitive and unoriginal jokes at young children – a device that often comes off more as disturbing than entertaining. Not only do most jokes just not stick the landing, but the references to adult relationships and lewd acts in relation to children is pure shock value – and loses any slight sense of entertainment it might have had very early on.
If you can get past these troubling elements, there are some redeeming qualities to the film past all the cheap laughs. Despite being uncomfortable at times, the impressive leading performances from Jacob Tremblay (Room), Keith L. Williams (The Last Man on Earth) and Brady Noon (Boardwalk Empire) were enough to carry the film to the end, with Williams’ Lucas being a clear standout with his comedic innocence throughout. These were accompanied by the likes of Will Forte (Nebraska), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) and Retta (Parks and Rec), beefing out the adult cast of the film.
Another surprising high point of the film is its strong emotional core, which shows itself more towards the end. Even though the bulk of the film is hell-bent on being Superbad with child actors, needlessly winding between plot points and dirty jokes, the ending reassures us that growing up is a necessary part of life; and while we might mature with age, there’s nothing wrong with holding onto our youth. While a nice sentiment in an otherwise story-poor film, unfortunately, that message and the few strong jokes alone don’t quite justify the ticket price.
Anther modern studio attempt at making a comedy film using only cheap jokes and shocking circumstances, Good Boys is an inconsistent and at times uncomfortable attempt at making a feature-length film out of a funny short concept.
If all you’re looking for is shocking jokes and cheap humour, just watch the trailer instead (it gives most of it away anyway).