Good Boys (2019) isn’t nearly as transgressive as it wants to make out, but is still plenty funny

There’s been a bit of Helen Lovejoy handwringing about the appropriateness of using young actors to anchor a crude adult-orientated comedy but while the language certainly isn’t entirely suitable for its young cast to watch, there’s nothing in the movie itself – swear words included – your average 12 year old hasn’t heard or used when talking with their friends. Anyone who thinks otherwise has forgotten what it was like to be twelve and/ or doesn’t know any ‘tweenage’ kids these days (who live in a far coarser world than I did at that age).

When the prospect of a ‘kissing party’ prompts three friends to try and find out how to kiss, it propels the tweens on a madcap adventure involving a missing drone, accidentally stolen drugs, college frat boys and two teenage girls determined to track them down.

The most surprising thing about “Good Boys” is how, at heart, it’s a warm and endearing look at growing up and the end of childhood and the strains it can put on the friendships you thought would last forever. It has more in common with the likes of “Eighth Grade” and “Booksmart” than you may expect – or want to admit – except, of course, given its 12-year-old-boy perspective there are far more dick and fart jokes, emotional immaturity and hilariously off-centre misunderstandings of sex and drugs.

The main cast are particularly good, not just in deadpanning the crudity and absurd situations, but in playing to the underlying emotions and confusion as the three boys wrestle not only with their own fears and desires but also how they’re starting to grow up and grow apart.  Juvenile, vulgar and honest, “Good Boys” is far better – and far more insightful – than its shock value reputation suggests.