While coming-of-age stories focused on the misadventures of children are certainly nothing new, “Good Boys” brings something to the table that most movies of its kind do not: the boys are actually boys.
The film’s protagonists, Max, Lucas and Thor, are portrayed by a trio of 12-year-olds: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon, respectively. The movie’s use of actual tweens is the basis of most of its humor, as well as the basis of its missteps.
The story follows the boys as they prepare for their first party. When an attempt at learning how to kiss goes awry, Max and his friends (the “Bean Bag Boys”) find themselves on an adventure with increasingly ridiculous shenanigans.
The boys find themselves forced into many adult situations, and their blatant cluelessness is played upon for laughs.
Throughout the movie, the tweens also frequently spout profanity and do their best to act grown-up, which is amusing due to its relatability. I think most of us went through that phase where we first discovered swear words and used them way too much.
Unfortunately, there are times when the filmmakers took the “we are using actual tweens” gimmick to places that blurred the line between funny and strange. During a few of the scenes, the children unwittingly commit actions that go beyond vulgar humor, and simply become uncomfortable to watch. Outside of these moments, the humor definitely lands.
Along with the comedy aspect, the film is also carried by personal drama. The boys have been inseparable for as long as they can remember. They even have a pledge they frequently quote: “We’re the Bean Bag Boys, we do everything together!” However, on their adventure, the boys face surprisingly realistic challenges that cause them to grow apart.
Max struggles to become popular and meet a girl. Thor wants to pursue his theatrical interests, but is pressured out of doing so by his peers. Lucas is desperate for a stable friend group due to his parents’ divorce. The boys eventually decide that they should go their separate ways; they accept that they’ve grown apart.
This process will definitely resonate with many viewers who have been through the same thing as they’ve grown up.
Through its use of actual children, “Good Boys” is very relatable in both comedic and emotional areas. If you’re willing to sit through a few uncomfortable moments, and if you enjoy vulgar humor, you’ll appreciate this film.
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