Movie Review: ‘Good Boys’ Presents a Panic-Riddled, But Also Fundamentally Romantic View of Life for Today’s Youth

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CREDIT: Ed Araquel/Universal Pictures

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams, Will Forte, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, Josh Caras, Lil Rel Howery, Retta, Millie Davis

Director: Gene Stupnitsky

Running Time: 90 Minutes

Rating: R for All the Typical R-Rated “We’ve Got to Get the Party!” Shenanigans, But This Time Involving 6th Graders

Release Date: August 16, 2019

Are kids growing up faster than they used to? It’s a question that every generation ass once they become adults, and I am usually inclined to believe that that worry (or at least the generalized version of it) is a bunch of hooey. It all depends on everyone’s unique circumstances, which vary around the planet and within the same neighborhood. Some kids are forced to grow up fast while others have eternal childhoods. But if the example of Good Boys is a representative sample of where we are in 2019, then the youth do indeed have a lot more than ever to contend with. Drugs and raging hormones are as much a factor as they’ve ever been – throw drones into the mix, and look out!

I can confidently say that when I was in sixth grade, I never had a day that got as absurdly out of hand as the one that “Beanbag Boys” Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon), and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) endure. (Heck, I never had a day like that in my teens or twenties either.) They’ve been invited to a co-ed party that promises to include kissing, and in a desperate effort to do it right, they end up spying on their supposedly nymphomaniac (“someone who has sex on land AND sea,” according to Max’s understanding) neighbor and then lose the drone that belongs to Max’s dad (Will Forte, the sort of achingly sweet father who should really adopt everyone). This then leads to broken bones in a bicycle chase, selling a sex doll to Stephen Merchant, running across six lanes of highway traffic, trapping a cop played by Sam Richardson in a convenience store with a dildo stuck on the door, and shooting their way out of a fraternity with paint guns. These are the sorts of shenanigans we’ve seen young cinematic partygoers get up to for decades, but those troublemakers are usually at least a few years older. In this case, the situations are as uproarious as any, but it’s tempered by how out of control everything feels. These are sweet kids who let panic get the best of them, and I can’t help but feel vicarious parental pangs for them.

It’s thus hard to fully embrace Good Boys, as it is quite stressful to watch twelve-year-olds contend with crises they’re nowhere near fully equipped to handle. But there is one element I greatly appreciate, and that is the matter of consent. It is underlined over and over in this movie that if you want to lock lips with your crush, you must ask first if they’re also into it. And when those moments happen, far from killing the mood, they instead increase the romance to an almost unbearably cute degree. Kids today might be dealing with a lot of pressure, but if they’re also being taught the importance of consent from a young age, then I’m not completely worried about the future.

Good Boys is Recommended If You Like: Superbad, Blockers, and weirdly enough Rock of Ages

Grade: 3 out of 5 Beanbag Boys

This Is a Movie Review: ‘Game Over Man’ Posits: What If ‘Die Hard,’ But with a Scene of Analingus?

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CREDIT: Cate Cameron/Netflix

This review was originally posted on News Cult in March 2018.

Starring: Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Neal McDonough, Jamie Demetriou, Aya Cash, Rhona Mitra, Sam Richardson, Daniel Stern

Director: Kyle Newacheck

Running Time: 98 Minutes

Rating: Not Rated, But It Would Be a Hard R for Nudity Leading to Violence, Leading to More Violence (Basically Both Naked and Clothed Bodies Are Mutilated and Exploded)

Release Date: March 23, 2018 (Streaming on Netflix)

Suppose you want to shamelessly rip off Die Hard. It’s a reasonable enough desire. Plenty of folks have done it already. It was practically its own sub-genre for a while there. The knockouts have tapered, but the original is still there for new generations to discover and grow up loving. Thus the Workaholics trio of Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, and Anders Holm have delivered to the bowels of the Netflix original realm Game Over, Man! in which the height of action thriller cinema is crossed with video game excess. What results is less a narrative movie and more a bizarre wish fulfillment fantasy.

Instead of off-duty cop John McClane, Game Over, Man! gives us The Dew Crew, three hotel workers thus named because of their affinity for a certain soft drink (even though we almost never see them drinking any Mountain Dew). Fashioning themselves entrepreneurs, they attempt to get financing for their “Skintendo Joysuit” (basically a full-body video game controller) from a vulgar celebrity (Utkarsh Ambudkar) partying at the hotel, but that is all derailed, of course, by a team of big-time thieves.

The Dew Crew get the McClane role by virtue of happenstance keeping them away while all the hostages are rounded up. So of course we know they will end up saving the day, but it is a wonder that they do not end up killing themselves instead. DeVine, for one, can never get beyond the mindset that they are in a real-life video game, as he remains singularly focused on getting the kill that the other two have already achieved. Anderson and Holm manage to have a little more awareness of the severity of the situation, but their survival is still mostly attributable to coincidence.

Anderson, DeVine, and Holm have clearly been given free rein to be as graphic as possible, and they take full advantage o. Body parts are variously mutilated and exploded, while there is plenty of male nudity, including one detached member that plays a pivotal climactic role. The shock routine is clearly meant to draw the laughs out, but the trouble is, there is no zest, no finesse to the deployment. Extremity for extremity’s sake can serve the purpose of disrupting snobbish tastes, but when you have an already receptive audience (which the Netflix algorithm will work to ensure), the effect is just numbing.

Game Over, Man! is Recommended If You Like: Excessive Violence and Excessive Comic Nudity

Grade: 2 out of 5 Vapes