SXSW 2019: “Good Boys” Review

SXSW 2019: “Good Boys” Review

Oh, where to begin? Good Boys is a typical coming of age sex comedy like ones that have come before them, except it features the youngest age group featured in a film with Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, and Keith L. Williams as the stars. Jacob Tremblay’s character, Max wants so badly to go to a party to kiss a girl, that the boys end up on a hijinks-filled day full of sex toys, drugs, and dangerous situations. Written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky and directed by Gene StupnitskyGood Boys takes films like Superbad to a younger age group, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

This film flat out did not work for me. I have no desire to hear or see children talking about or touching things that they shouldn’t. From the very first scene where Max’s dad is talking to him about discovering his favorite new toy, his penis, it only gets worse. As the kids go through the film, we see them trying to do adult things for the entire movie like drinking, kissing, and using terminology and sexual phrases of which they have no understanding. They even end up in trouble with two teenage/ young adult women played by Molly Gordon and Midori Francis. It comes off as more offensive and disgusting than films like Superbad just because of the age, and the content to which the kids were exposed. At some point, there has to be a line drawn in the exploitation of adolescent sexual humor, and Good Boys has passed it.

Even more offensive yet, the film attempts to join in the movement and talk about topics like consent and respect for women and their bodies, but in the next line refer to 11-year-old girls as skanks. One of the most distasteful jokes comes when a man walks into the frat house saying “she dropped the charges.” It is so offensive and flat out wrong that I wanted to walk out just then. Did you ever want to see a kid kiss a sex doll and pull a pube out of his mouth? If you said yes, I wouldn’t want you near any children. Ever. That’s pretty much how 90% of the film is. While the film attempts to get to what is supposed to be the heart of the film, it never really has the emotional punch or weight it needs to and therefore falls flat. The emotions feel forced and insincere. Riddled with gross-out humor, sexual props, disgusting situations, the heart of the film is lost.

In addition to these issues, we have to address a couple of plot holes in the film as well. We know that Max has a mom and a dad and that the dad goes on a trip, but we don’t see or hear from the mother until the end of the film. Where was she? Why didn’t she try to find her son who didn’t go to school that day? What about Thor’s parents? Where were they? Molly Gordon and Midori Francis’ characters and that entire plotline rely on that fact that it seems feasible that teenage or young adult women would be stupid enough to get 11-year-olds to buy drugs. Thankfully, I don’t know any young women that stupid or irresponsible.

This film may work for people, but it certainly didn’t work for me. I feel disgusted and a little grossed out after watching the movie. Featuring children at such a young age talking about sexual topics, playing around with sex toys, and even wearing anal beads around their neck is pushing the line too far. Easily the worst comedy I’ve seen in a long time, Good Boys is a bad film that wastes the talents of great young actors, with repulsive jokes and gags.

Written by
Ashley Menzel is an avid film lover and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves foreign films and dramas and reading books that have film adaptations. Her favorite movie of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She loves Doctor Who, Supernatural, iZombie, and Grimm.

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