Gene Stupnitsky, mainly known as a writer on the office, has made his first move into feature films with his directorial debut, Good Boys. The trailers for the film have really pushed the angle that this is a film where kids swear and experience more adult things, and honestly it didn’t excite me at all. However in reality Good Boys is a genuinely hilarious, and touching film, about the nature of friendship as you grow up.
The film centres around three 6th grade kids: Max, Lucas, and Thor. After Max is invited to a party by the school’s cool kid Soren he sees it as a chance to finally talk to his crush, Brixlee, whilst Thor sees this as a chance to prove he’s cool to Soren’s friends by sipping a beer and get away from his theatre kid image. Meanwhile Lucas discovers that his parents are getting a divorce. Hijinks ensue that lead to the three being chased by his neighbour Hannah and her friend Lily after they unknowingly steal their MDMA.
As a comedy Good Boys is fantastic, right up there as one of the funniest films of the year. From great comedic lines and jokes, to horrendous but hilarious situations this was easily one of the films that I laughed the hardest at all year. In many ways it feels similar to Booksmart in terms of much of the humour, although the boundaries do get pushed further. It is also incredibly true to life as a young kid, where everyone takes a lot of the insignificant dramas to be truly life defining.
But what really made Good Boys more than just funny, was the really touching story it told of the friendship of the core three boys. It is very clear early on that these three kids are all quite different, with different interests, and the film doesn’t shy away from that fact, and how it is quite common for your friendship groups to change over time, as discover more about what you like and people that gel with.
It helps that the three core young actors all do a great job. Jacob Tremblay is well known, and anyone who has seen Room knows what a talented actor he is, his chemistry with Brady Noon, playing Thor is fantastic, particularly as the relationship between the pair becomes strained. But it is Keith L. Williams, who feels as though this could be a true breakout for him as a comic actor, as he has a lot of the funniest lines in the film, and that comes from his great comic delivery.
The supporting cast is great as well, particularly Molly Gordon as Hannah and Midori Francis as Lilly. Every scene with them is great as the pair are hilarious, and play off one another and the younger actors brilliantly. Many of the other child actors are great in their small roles, particularly Macie Juiles as Brixlee’s best friend Taylor and Lina Renna as Thor’s sister Annabelle. There are some bigger name comedians in the adult roles, such as Retta or Stephen Merchant, who are good, but these are generally limited, with the focus on kids and teenage characters.
I really think that in the last few years we’ve been in a really strong era for comedies, and Good Boys is another that carries on that trend. Whilst it may stray into profane or adult humour a little too much for some viewers, it always does it in a genuinely funny and witty way.