Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Review: "Good Boys"

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Just a quick mini-review today. Head over to The Film Yap to read Manuel Fernandez' "official" take on the comedy.

This struck me as a pretty conscious attempt to do "Superbad" for the tween crowd -- the running joke being that 12-year-olds want to be outrageous and grown-up but are still too kiddie to know how to do it right. And, of course, we've got to do some sober life-lessons moments.

The end result plays like a bawdy comedy version of "Stand By Me." There are a few good laughs, and I enjoyed Jacob Tremblay as the quasi-leader of the trio of kids who dub themselves "The Bean Bag Boys."

(Why? Because they met in kindergarten and there were some bean bags lying around.)

The setup is that they ditch school, accidentally find themselves in possession of some Molly (aka Ecstasy, or as they refer to it, a "sex drug") and destroy an expensive drone that belongs to one of their fathers (Will Forte). So the rest of the movie is spent trying to fix what they screwed up in the first act.

The boys are each a "type." Tremblay is Max, a young heartbreaker who's obsessed with his classmate Brixlee (Millie Davis), determined to kiss and then marry her, despite having never spoken to her.

Lucas (Keith L. Williams) is the bigger, older-looking kid who's actually the shyest and most sensitive of the troop. His parents are divorcing, and he's so honest and guileless that he keeps blurting out the truth, foiling the BBB's plans.

Brady Noon plays Thor, a talented singer who too often listens to the taunting of his bullying classmates, who dub him a "tryhard" for seeming like he cares too much about something. Heavens!

Molly Gordon and Midori Francis play the teen girls who are the main antagonists, swiping the drone that the boys were using to spy on them so they could learn how to kiss. There's a big party tonight at the house of Soren (Izaac Wang), the reigning king of cool, and word has it spin-the-bottle is on the menu.

Director Gene Stupnitsky ("Bad Teacher"), who co-wrote the script with Lee Eisenberg, has a good feel for what it's like to be 12 and wanting to grow up overnight. But the movie's main failing is repeating the same basic joke over and over again: the boys dropping a lot of f-bombs while being completely in the dark about the mechanics of sex.

For instance, we're supposed to believe that these lads have Googled the word "porn" for the very first time in the course of the story. And they keep mixing up terms like "feminist" and "misogyny" so they're basically interchangeable.

They have arguments about who's the nicest kid in their grade -- Lucas is affronted it's not him -- and play at being rebellious while fretting about their actions "going on our permanent record."

There's some good stuff in "Good Boys," but in the end I like the idea of the movie more than the one they made.

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