25 Sep 2019

Movie review: Good Boys

From At The Movies, 7:32 pm on 25 September 2019

Good Boys is a R-rated movie about a trio of foul-mouthed 12-year-olds. I's a lot sweeter and funnier than you'd think, says Simon Morris.

Simon Morris: Good Boys is set in an intermediate school, but nobody who goes to one is allowed to see it.

So who on earth is a movie about a trio of foul-mouthed 12-year-olds aimed at?

Even the stars aren't allowed to go to their own movie.

Well, I went along, and there was the audience - mostly 16 and 17-year-olds who remember their intermediate school days all too well.

They particularly remember the prime objective among boys of that age - not to look like an idiot among your peers - or worse, a child.

Imagine a blend of the film Superbad with Kids Say the Darnedest Things, or a sweary, American Just William, and you get some idea.

Our heroes are the self-styled Bean Bag Boys, who've been best friends since kindergarten.

There's the marginally cool one - Max, played by Room's Jacob Tremblay - who's the first one noticing a stirring of interest in the opposite sex.

There's a big marshmallow called Lucas, the one most likely to crack under any pressure.

And there's the inappropriately-named Thor, a blustering try-hard with a guilty secret - a fondness for musical theatre.

But that's not important right now. There's a party for cool people that involves kissing.

Our heroes need to learn how to do this before Saturday.

I liked the fact that the coolest kid in school is a small Chinese boy called Soren.

But Max is smitten by a girl called Brixlee - where do these names come from?

If Max is going to successfully kiss Brixlee, he needs research. And fortunately, his Dad has a new drone, specially designed to spy on the techniques of older kissers.

But things go badly. They spy on a pair of teenagers, but their targets spot the drone and catch it with a fishing net. There will be trouble.

In retaliation, the Bean Bag Boys pinch one of the girls' bags that contains some low-grade drugs - Mollys to be exact.

So now there's a stand-off. Not helped because our heroes are nervous about the sudden presence of dangerous drugs here.

It seems a recent lecture in assembly made a big impression.

Good boys may be crass at times, but it's smarter than you'd think.

It taps into the difference between a tween's idea of coming of age, and one set later.

At high school and particularly at university, you're building up friendships that will probably last forever.

But when you're a little kid, you're finding out who you are individually.

Nobody's getting married here or planning a life or a career. The best you can hope for is not to get into too much trouble - I've never seen a comedy where the three heroes burst into tears so often.

Of course, the other part of childhood is laughing your head off a lot of the time.

I have no idea why something as unpromising-looking as Good Boys should be so sweet and funny, but it was - mostly.

I'm not sure I needed the truckload of R-rated sex toys that Thor's parents seem to go in for.

But if there's one thing Good boys seems to pride itself on, it's authenticity.

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