Good Boys (**1/2) doesn’t overcome its misgivings

Good Boys – 2019

Director Gene Stupnitsky
Written by Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg
Starring Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon, Lil Rel Howery, Will Forte, Midori Francis, Millie Davis

Good Boys is the option for those who wished they had made a sequel to Superbad. Once more we have friends Max, Lucas and Thor (Tremblay, Williams and Noon) who are looking forward to a party where they will experience some groundbreaking event. This time its a “kissing party.” Max wants to kiss his “future wife” Brixlee (Davis). Lucas and Thor have their own reasons for attending, but they really don’t matter, because there’s a RED BAND trailer that went with this film, so it must be a bunch of stuff that is dirty and nasty, right?

There are problems inherent in presenting a world where boys can be boys and survive full immersion into the world inhabited by drugs, sex and all of the trimmings. How does one present innocence when these kids have people traipsing through their lives not really hiding stuff to which they should not have access? The explanations fall short, but it doesn’t keep them from marching through the story at a literal breakneck pace.

We get to see this trio run from two girls (Gordon, Francis) who’s “molly” they stole inadvertently and then stupidly decide to keep until the next morning. Mainly this serves the purpose of having things go sideways just in time for them to have to skip school.

Their journey leads them to:

  • Use sex toys as weapons
  • Sell something they shouldn’t have seen but have already kissed to an…
  • Adult that shouldn’t be talking with them
  • Steal from a store in front of a police officer
  • Cause a major accident
  • Steal drugs from and cause a fight in a frat house

Seeing some of these things in the trailer did not prevent me from seeing this film. There’s a difference in being prudish about what kids are exposed to and just wishing it were done better. The angle involving drugs seems to occupy way too much of the film. Then to throw the drinking dare on top of that. It gives the feeling of going to the well of the willing suspension of disbelief a bit too frequently. Either the kids are all innocent as the directors want us to believe, or the film is a little too intellectually dishonest.

This doesn’t mean there are not some good moments in the film. In all, it’s an adorable couple of kids (Tremblay and Williams). Williams and Tremblay are suited to the more consistently written Lucas and Max.

Thor (Noon) is just shy of a young Corey Feldman on the annoyance scale. Not his fault, though. He is asked to do too many things that don’t mesh into the character they want him to be. They needed someone with bad ideas too mature for his age and he drew the short straw. To make it less funny, somehow they have his younger looking sister explain it all to them time and again.

It’s far from a bad film. But Good Boys is not close enough to a good one to watch more than once.

(**1/2 out of *****)

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