Verge Reviews: Good Boys

Middle School hijinx is all the rage in American films today. Between the success of Netflix originals Stranger Things and Big Mouth to the critical acclaim of Bo Burnham’s directorial debut Eighth Grade, we really are living in the renaissance of the child actor. 

Good Boys is no exception.

There is a sharpness to the immature brand of humour in this 2019 raunchy tween comedy. From director Gene Stupnitsky, who makes his feature directorial debut, Good Boys is impressively funny. 

To be fair, the cast is beyond solid. The story follows three young boys making the jump from 5th to 6th grade. Max, Lucas and Thor are the “Beanbag Boys,” a trio of friends who struggle with the perils of puberty, popularity and newfound responsibility. 

When Max’s dad’s drone falls into the clutches of two high school girls, played by Molly Gordan and Midori Francis, just trying to get high for a concert, Lucas and Thor unwillingly set out on a Superbad-Esque adventure for a new drone, a single beer and the secrets to kissing. 

What Good Boys lack in subtlety it makes up for in raw yet very smart humour. Stupnitsky, who wrote for NBC’s The Office for many years, puts a lot of faith in the three boys from the neighbourhood. But that faith does pay off.

Jacob Tremblay, who plays Max, is no stranger to the big screen. He starred alongside Brie Larson’s Academy Award-winning performance in Room. He carries a lot of weight in Good Boys and it is apparent Tremblay has a long career ahead of him in both drama and comedy.

Lucas and Thor are played by Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon, and the two never seem to let Jacob have to carry the film for too long. 

Along for the ride are a stellar set of supporting actors who portray some of the trio’s parents. Will Forte shines as Max’s father and quite possibly steals the whole film within the first few minutes. Retta and Lil Rel Howery are fantastic as Lucas’ mother and father, the two are absurd and really have some brilliant chemistry.

Good Boys’ doesn’t just have a star-studded cast, but at the producer’s table as well. When you watch the film you might think to yourself, “Wow this feels like Superbad meets Stranger Things.” That would probably because Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill were executive producers for the film.

In a world of film dominated by reboots and remakes, Good Boys does something different in taking a concept and ages it down while simultaneously not losing on the charm and wit of the older film. 

Superbad meets Stranger Things is a bit of a gamble, but for Stupnitskey, Rogen, Hill and the rest of the cast, it seems to pay off. Good Boys is set to hit cinemas everywhere on 16 August.

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