Arts

Good Boys 'pickpockets generous laughs' with its potty-mouthed coming-of-age comedy

Adolescent pals discover the art of kissing a girl in the raucous comedy Good Boys. Damon Smith puckers up...

Keith L Williams as Lucas, Brady Noon as Thor and Jacob Tremblay as Max in Bad Boys
Damon Smith

GOOD boys go bad in director Gene Stupnitsky's potty-mouthed coming-of-age comedy, a haphazard misadventure in the company of three pre-teen pals on the precipice of puberty.

Producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg traversed similarly messy territory in Superbad with older characters bound for college.

In Stupnitsky's script, co-written by Lee Eisenberg, the unsettling transition from fifth to sixth grade provides a loose dramatic framework for lurid life lessons for a cherubic trinity, whose hilariously misinformed understanding of (the opposite) sex has been gleaned from playground hearsay.

For these Good Boys, the forbidden fruit of an internet search for pornography on a parents' laptop has yet to be tasted and the closest they have come to experimentation is giving one of their computer game avatars a pair of painfully pendulous love cushions.

The youngsters naively mistake a full-size sex doll for a CPR aid – providing the film with its first gross-out punchline – and fashion a chain of their parents' secondhand pleasure beads into an oversized pink necklace for one potential love interest.

Her wincing response to the jewellery's pungent aroma provides another collective groan of disgust.

Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L Williams) are founder members of The Bean Bag Boys, a close-knit crew of hormone-addled 12-year-olds who live on the same block.

They ride around the neighbourhood, trying to act cool so they can avoid the most inglorious fate for any newly promoted sixth grader: becoming "a social piranha".

To that end, Max is delighted to be personally invited to a kissing party thrown by cool kid Soren (Izaac Wang) and he persuades the host to add Thor and Lucas to the guest list.

There's just one hitch, none of The Bean Bag Boys have ever locked lips with a girl and they worry their inexperience will be their undoing.

Max has a brainwave: he will pilot his father's drone and spy on Hannah (Molly Gordon), who lives down the street.

"My neighbour's a nymphomaniac," Max confidently explains to his wide-eyed buddies. "She has sex on land and sea."

Unfortunately, Max crash-lands his old man's prized gizmo and Hannah and gal pal Lilly (Midori Francis) hold the drone hostage.

Their chosen ransom is a bottle of ecstasy pills from Hannah's knucklehead boyfriend, Benji (Josh Caras).

Good Boys relies heavily on sex toys for laughs and the novelty of these items in the hands of unsuspecting tykes does wear thin.

Tremblay, Noon and Williams pickpocket generous laughs with their escapades.

At almost every turn, they are blissfully unaware of the seriousness of their predicament apart from one set-piece, a madcap dash across three lanes of a fast-moving highway, that comes uncomfortably close to being misjudged.

Thankfully, the characters and Stupnitsky's film emerge relatively unscathed.

RATING: 6/10

RELEASED: August 16

GOOD BOYS (15, 90 mins) Comedy/Romance. Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L Williams, Midori Francis, Molly Gordon, Josh Caras, Izaac Wang. Director: Gene Stupnitsky.

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