Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Good Boys

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Copyright: Universal Pictures

An inevitable move from acting persona to producer extraordinaire for Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill sees the creation of Good Boys, the directorial debut of Gene Stupnitsky. Whilst not a horrible year for comedies, the closing year of the 2010s did indeed leave a lot to be desired. Offering the occasional laugh was good enough, but most comedies from the past few years have been rather underwhelming. Few jokes, fewer laughs, and all of them mired by a need to keep itself fresh and relevant. When we look back on the great niche of bargain-bin comedy, we’ll look to DodgeballFreddy Got FingeredDirty Work and that old SNL era of filmmaking. Good Boys doesn’t quite capture that energy, but it comes closer to those glory days than anything else releasing currently. 

Our leading cast do well with the rush of content available to them. They walk the tightrope of middle-school and all the new experiences that entails. Nothing groundbreaking, but Good Boys applies such strangely engaging backdrops to our characters. The school bully treating his friends and enemies as if he were a mafia don, our trio fearful of drink, hormones, and everything that comes with the big step up from elementary. They’re dropped rather early, though, and their infrequent returns are a wasted spectacle. Usually, young actors aren’t able to pull punches strong enough to leave an impact, but the early moments are undeniably solid. Repetition encroaches rapidly, the story almost non-existent, not surprising since writing pair Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg also gave us Bad Teacher.  

Some of the lines are great, though. Throwaway jokes that don’t have consequences but in any other format would serve as strong narrative points. Good Boys thrives on this frustrating energy, divorce, growing-up, drink and drugs, they’re all thrown at us without any care for how they affect the narrative. There are a few lines throughout that either Stupnitsky wanted to use as a reoccurring gag and failed, or just forgot he’d written that joke already. Less is more, and as lightly humorous as it may be to hear such dialogue, it does lose its charm after the second or third outing. 

Good Boys relies on a cast of stalwart supporting actors to bring about some truly enjoyable comedy. Quite funny, and considering all the hurdles it needs to jump, our leading characters fare rather well. Assertive in its cliché approach to storytelling, Stupnitsky tries to hold his own in a genre overblown with direction near-identical to his. No voice of his own, he can at least rely on some consistent comedy. There’s nothing substantial to be found in Good Boys, but sometimes brainless humour has its rewarding moments.