Good Boys – bad movie

The trailers for Good Boys were deceptive, they made this movie look like a great time but they’ve crammed all the best jokes into two minutes and you really shouldn’t expect anything more from the movie.

Lucas, Max and Thor peering up

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We should have known, they trotted out Seth Rogan to sell this movie and he’s not even in it! He is a producer along with his mate Jonah Hill, but they don’t use Jerry Bruckheimer to peddle the latest Top Gun movie, or Kathleen Kennedy to sell us on the next instalment of Star Wars in the trailers do they?

Rogan’s promo worked for this movie though, topping the box office and making its money back on opening in the United States with $21 million. It wasn’t an entirely dead weekend either, it competed with the latest Tarantino movie, Dora the Explorer and Ugly Dolls.

The hook for this film is an R-rated comedy starring kids doing and saying things that they actually can’t go and watch themselves do in a cinema.

Who’s fault is it?

The problem is a movie about 12 year olds probably is more suited to 12 year olds rather than the adults that writer Lee Eisenberg and director Gene Stupnitsky would prefer go and see it. This not so dynamic duo are the guys who brought you the equally underwhelming Bad Teacher in 2011.

What is it about?

The story is a younger version of Superbad and some kind of coming of age thing about Max, Lucas and Thor—otherwise known as the bean bag boys, because they veg out on beanbags at sleepovers.

Their pre-pubescent innocence is in a rapid state of decline as they swear like troopers and push the boundaries from young child towards pubescent child. They’re still children but more embarrassing and a bigger pain in the arse. Things like girls are becoming interesting, taking sips of beer is hard-core but drugs are very bad, their mothers are still their best friends and sex is a total mystery to them. 

The boys get invited by the most popular kid in class to a party. It’s a kissing party to be precise but none of them know how to kiss so they undertake research. It starts with stealing Max’s dad’s drone to spy on older teenagers kissing, they end up with drugs, they get chased by the real owners of the drugs, watch porn, mistake sex toys for weapons and say fuck a lot. Anyone who remembers even a shred of their childhood won’t be shocked to know that kids curse.

The cast are ok, Jacob Tremblay as Max, Keith L Williams as Lucas and Brady Noon as Thor, but they’re largely forgettable because they come across as stupid kids, time and time again.

What’s wrong with it?

It’s not so much that the jokes are unfunny, but they are, it’s just 90 minutes of stupid kid schtick, from not being able to remove a childproof cap off a pill bottle to mistaking anal beads for nunchucks. And no, it’s not a spoiler when they use the best jokes they have to sell the movie in the trailer.

It has been proven in various scientific studies that there is a link between humour and intelligence, in that people with higher IQs are apparently able to recognise and produce humour. But that’s pretty subjective.

Really unfunny psychologists reckon that to be in on a joke, you need to do the following:

1. Mentally represent the setup of the joke.

They’re clueless 12 year olds who don’t know shit about the world and are in over their heads.

2. Detect an incongruity in its multiple interpretations.

These sweet kids say fuck a lot and try to act older than they are. They don’t understand adult stuff like sex drugs and alcohol. Once of them has kinky parents who like sex toys.

3. Resolve the incongruity by inhibiting the literal, non-funny interpretations and appreciating the meaning of the funny one.

These sweet kids say fuck a lot.

That’s the problem with this movie.

The verdict

Good jokes can work on portions of the brain that make the stress hormone cortisol and significantly reduce the amount produced resulting in a more relaxed state.

So laughter really might be the best medicine but in the case of Good Boys it’s nothing more than snake oil or reiki or whatever other hippy dippy holistic bullshit you want to mention.


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