Good Boys knows how to push the boundaries just enough to guarantee an R-rating and the possibility to offend some of the more conservative audience members, but at its core this is a carefully calculated studio film that makes sure to toe the line without ever coming close to crossing it. In other words, Good Boys likes to play at being shocking and offensive in the same way its protagonists are playing at being grown ups. It is laughable when compared to any truly edgy films. Even studio films of the past have been willing to take more risks, while the main source of edginess in Good Boys is the involvement of young actors.
While there are obvious similarities to other coming-of-age films, the one difference with Good Boys is the obvious age difference between these actors and the ones we are accustomed to seeing. Even when actors playing the teens actually look the correct age, the characters are usually in high school. Good Boys is about a group of tween boys that haven’t even hit puberty yet, making this movie feel a lot like “Stranger Things” meets Superbad.
The premise for the film is as simple as Superbad, and shares some similarities. Three childhood friends Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon), and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) are on a mission to learn how to kiss in time for an intimidating party thrown by some of the popular kids. When they use Max’s father’s drone to spy on neighborhood girls, they lose it and are forced on a wild goose chase to try and replace it. Meanwhile, Max is still preoccupied with kissing because of a girl he has a crush on, Thor is determined to steal a beer so that he can disassociate himself with a mean nickname, and Lucas simply wants to remain a kid. This dynamic is more than a little similar to the relationship between the growing boys on “Stranger Things” between sequences of horror.
If you want to hear Tremblay and friends dropping F-bombs, this is the film for you. If you are looking for anything edgier than that, there are better choices. The film relies far too heavily on the contrasting humor of young and innocent looking/sounding children as they do and say things expected from much older kids. This running gag is just not funny enough to carry the entire film, and may even offend those who stop to think about the filming process and possible corruption of these young actors. More than anything, though, it just feels generic and derivative no matter how hard the film tries to be edgy. It still feels created by committee, careful not to truly offend anyone.
The Blu-ray release of Good Boys comes with plenty of additional footage, in the form of deleted and alternative scenes, a gag reel, and a series of behind-the-scenes featurettes. Many of these featurettes continue to capitalize on the cuteness of the cast members, but makes time for the older stars as well. The alternate ending is worth checking out, just to see how the filmed a simpler ending with the same dialogue before passing the film with an awkward montage sequence. The Blu-ray release also comes with a DVD copy and a digital code.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 5/10
Special Features: 7/10