Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Will Forte, Lil Rel Howery, Michaela Watkins
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…provides a good head rush from all the giggling, but also surprising moments of poignancy that shows genuine heart underneath the profanity.
With how high Point Grey Pictures’ star has risen over the 2010s – from the Bad Neighbours series to The Disaster Artist to Long Shot from earlier this year – them backing a film like this almost feels like a step backward. A story about three school kids who get into wacky and blue misadventures while trying to get to a party for the ‘cool kids’? Are they running back to Superbad already? While this definitely shares elements with that previous feature, it also has more than enough of its own merit to stand on its own.
Writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (Year One, Bad Teacher) basically put enfant terrible on blast for the whole just-under-90-minute running time, getting a lot of mileage out of crass humour involving kids that kids themselves aren’t even allowed to see, a point brought home by the film’s Seth Rogen-featured marketing.
Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon do remarkably well with the dialogue, rattling off one-liners about sex, drugs and even a bit of rock’n’roll to make for a very high hit-to-miss ratio, one of the highest for a comedy to make it into cinemas in 2019.
There’s also plenty of Point Grey’s signature to be found within, as Rogen and Evan Goldberg productions tend to contain a lot of licensed music picks that border on the ingenious. Whether it’s ‘Walking On Sunshine’ used for hilariously tragic irony, Pusha T’s vocals on Yellow Claw’s ‘Nightmare’ providing great chase scene ambience, or Run The Jewels backing a version of ‘Frogger’ for the truly reckless, their pedigree for musical comedy remains healthily intact.
Not that this is just crassness and a good soundtrack just for their own sakes. Hell, it might not even be that similar to Superbad when all is said and done. If anything, it has more in common with Eighth Grade in how it uses a form of self-aware pretentiousness to highlight children who try (and mostly fail) to act and speak like adults because they’re at that point in life where that’s what they want to be: mature and grown-up. But as we see more of the kids around them, the high schoolers and even the adults, they themselves start to question what exactly ‘growing up’ and ‘being mature’ actually means.
In-between the frat house brawling, the ball-gag gags and what Tom Cruise in Rock Of Ages should have looked like, the insights made about pre-puberty and the forced environment for socialising that is public schooling are what leave the lingering effect. It provides a good head rush from all the giggling, but also surprising moments of poignancy that shows genuine heart underneath the profanity. There’s definitely a lot of crassness here, and those with a disdain for wall-to-wall vulgarity need not apply, but those with the taste for it, Good Boys makes for a pretty damn good showing.