I've seen the original trailer for Good Boys approximately WAY too many times. It played before every single R-rated movie for the past few months, but honestly I never really got tired of it. I thought it was a funny premise with some over the top sex gags that worked at making me laugh every time. So, I was excited about the film and I'm happy to say the overall film was very funny, charming, and surprisingly heartfelt.
I always have to give major credit to any director that gets great and natural performances out of children. Not to say all kids are bad actors, but there have been many, many cases of children actors being absolutely horrid. Director Gene Stupnitsky (writer of Year One) does a terrific job of letting these kids go crazy but reeling them in when the time comes for the story to get a little more serious. The many outrageous situations that the kids get themselves into all have smooth transitions from one another and makes the whole film feel less chaotic in a negative way. It's a quick sit with a break-neck pace that doesn't waste much time but still lets the characters grow. All of the gags might not be hilarious, but I don't see too much wrong with the direction of this film.
The story presented is a fairly standard "a group of friends get into wacky and hilarious situations while learning the true meaning of friendship" kind of story. Think The Hangover, Old School, or Road Trip EXCEPT all with 12-year-old kids. It's fairly funny, however predictable, for the first half but then it transitions to a story about what it means to be childhood friends, which I found to be very real, sincere, and almost sad. They didn't play it up enough, but I thought it was interesting that a movie that was SO heavily marketed as the "good kids do bad things for laughs" movie actually has a lot to say.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Like I said above, each of the three main "Good Boys" is terrific and plays off of each other very well. You easily believe the friendship that they share even if their personalities don’t exactly mix well. The supporting cast is great as well, with Will Forte and Lil Rel Howery both playing fathers of two of the kids in the group, but my favorite had to be Sam Richardson as the officer in the shop. A brief but hilarious scene between him and the kids was probably my favorite in the whole movie, and Richardson has a knack for quiet comedic intensity. Also Stephen Merchant… His role. So good.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The music is fairly standard as well with the occasional rap and rock songs thrown into a montage of scenes in either a cute or funny way. And the score wasn't anything too memorable either, but it felt like it was pandering (which I feel a lot of comedies do nowadays). Not bad, but not a soundtrack you'll be listening to in your car any time soon...unless you really wanted Barry White and Judas Priest both on the same soundtrack.
Besides a few practical effects (that broken arm was gnarly) and a little bit of makeup here and there, most of the movie didn't use too many effects. There is one though that kinda took me out of the movie. There's a scene involving the boys crossing a highway that was hilarious but obviously green-screened (because...obviously). It didn't bother me too much, but it did take me out of focus when you clearly see the lighting doesn't exactly match.
Good Boys ends the summer on a relatively funny note just like Long Shot started the summer with one. It's cute, funny, outrageous, and actually has something to say, which are my favorite type of comedies. I recommend it. Check it out!