“Good Boys” is bad. That’s bad in a good way. Or to further define it, the movie is also not about boys that are good bad boys. The boys in question are good good boys. Best of all, they’re not good boys in a bad movie.
Now you’re lost and maybe I should start over.
“Good Boys” is the year’s funniest comedy, and is an immature movie for the mature among us. That statement comes with an asterisk. It’s the funniest comedy of the year if sometimes raunchy, f-bomb-laced comedy doesn’t offend you. That comment leads to a second asterisk. Even if it does offend, you’ll probably laugh anyway.
You see, the f-bomb-laced raunch is from the point of view of 12 year olds. They don’t quite understand all the sex stuff being thrown at them. That’s the charm of the film and why — straight-laced or not so-straight-laced — you’ll likely laugh.
And you’ll laugh loud and hard.
Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon are — in order — Max, Lucas and Thor. They’re 12 and have arrived at puberty. Max wants to kiss the girl of his dreams; one he’s convinced he’s going to marry someday. Lucas’ parents are divorcing and he’s a compulsive truth-teller. Thor wants the lead singing role in the school’s production of Rock of Ages.
Not sure how to go about kissing, the boys steal Max’s dad’s prized drone to spy on two high school girls. Something goes wrong and the drone crashes at their feet. The girls figure out what’s going on and keep the drone. Somehow the boys manage to steal the purse of one of them.
It contains their edible pot.
How the two parties manage to get it all sorted out takes you on a journey through sex, sex toys, fantasies and friendship and all of it from a 12-year-old boy viewpoint. This leads to a third asterisk. This movie is not just aimed at guys.
Women will find themselves howling right along with the men in the audience. Some of you will laugh even louder than the guys.
The kid casting is superb. Tremblay has shined since he burst on the scene in “Room” in 2015. He’s exceptional and his two leading guy pals, Williams and Noon are very good as well. Even better, these kids have as good a time doing this movie as the adult actors who are also very good.
Special kudos go to Molly Gordon (“Life of the Party”) and Midori Francis (“Ocean’s Eight”) who shine as the two teen girls.
“Good Boys” is co-written by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, and is directed by Stupnitsky. The latter man is a co-producer and writer of several episodes of TV’s “The Office” and both men wrote the Cameron Diaz comedy, “Bad Teacher.”
To get a real clue about the direction of this plot, “Good Boys” is co-produced by Seth Rogen. He — as you know — doesn’t have much of a taste filter. Neither does this movie.
That leads to yet another asterisk. Does a movie really need to have taste — good boys, or good anything or not — to be appreciated?
▪ Rated R for raw language and mature themes. It’s playing at the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s, at the AMC Classic Kennewick 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
▪ Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5
‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’
Richard Linklater is one of the industry’s most interesting directors. He has an almost unrivaled ability to create characters in chaos and make them believable. “Boyhood” is a great example. It is a brilliant 12-year project that ended up winning two Golden Globes and deserved the screenplay and best picture Oscars given to “Birdman.”
He’s also done some of my favorite arthouse films. Among them are the little seen “Me & Orson Welles,” “A Scanner Darkly” and “Waking Life.” His commercial stuff — “School of Rock” and even the “Bad News Bears” redo — isn’t bad either.
“Bernadette” is based on a novel by Maria Semple. I’m told if you’ve read the novel you’ll like the movie but might not love it like those that haven’t. Since I’m a haven’t, I love the movie.
Linklater’s adaptation casts Cate Blanchett as Bernadette. Brilliant and eccentric, eons ago she was the hottest of the hot in architectural circles. Things happen, and Bernadette, workaholic husband Elgie and daughter Bee end up rebuilding a dilapidated old Catholic orphanage in Seattle. The film picks up their lives a few weeks before a family trip to Antarctica. Daughter Bee opens the film with a narration that explains the movie’s set up, her mom’s mental crisis and more.
The “and more” is filled in with some of the best acting I’ve seen this year. Blanchett — who’s won two Oscars and three Golden Globes — again proves why she’s one of the best ever at her craft.
She bing-bongs through emotions like electrons in one of those universe-studying colliders. Up and down she goes and takes her daughter, her husband and the neighbor down the hill with her. It’s great work.
So is the supporting acting of Billy Crudup (“Alien: Covenant,” “Jackie”) who plays her husband and Emma Nelson’s performance as Bee.
The real star of the film — however — is Linklater. He is the architect of a movie about a troubled architect. And for his trouble, he’ll no doubt get Oscar and Golden Globe nominations along with his stellar cast. His usual, and expected intelligent dialogue and deeply developed characters drive the movie. Linklater is also a very, very good director and storyteller. He lets this screenplay and his characters breathe.
As for you, there is no need to wonder where Bernadette is this weekend. If you’re tired of the usual movie fare — big budgets, explosions, battles and fighting — and are looking for something a bit more cerebral, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is in a theater near you.
▪ Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It’s playing at the AMC Classic Kennewick 12, the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
▪ Rating: 5 out of 5
‘Angry Birds 2’
“Angry Birds 2” starts with the birds of Bird Island and the pigs of Piggy Island still at war. They are forced to form an alliance when a greater threat comes their way from Eagle Island. That island’s leader, Zeta, is a crazed dictator with technology that tops that of the birds and the pigs. Her island is frozen and she is tired of being cold and wants the resources of the two islands.
In the meantime, the very narcissistic, and somewhat paranoid Red — the film’s main character and the first movie’s hero — is having an identity crisis.
“Angry Birds 2” looks a lot like the original movie. Jason Sudeikis and most of the original cast return for the sequel. Not that it helps. Video games made into movies pretty much suck. “The Angry Birds Movie” was one of them. It wasn’t all that entertaining.
But I’m not a kid and it wasn’t made for me.
“Angry Birds 2” isn’t all that good either. Red’s inferiority crisis wears thin immediately as does the film’s main story. Unlike the first film, however, this one has a few sequences that had me howling. Credit a new director — Thurop Van Orman — and new writers Peter Ackerman (“Ice Age,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”) and Eyal Podell and Jonathon E. Stewart who helped write “Smallfoot.”
Whether what they did will do much for bored children is a whole other matter. For me — and probably for most adults forced to see this — those few funny bits save the movie.
▪ Rated PG for mature themes. It’s playing at the AMC Classic Kennewick 12, the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
▪ Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5