Film Review: Good Boys

Gene Stupnitsky’s directorial debut Good Boys is infectious in its silliness. Offering both heart and a lot of laughs, the comedy is very enjoyable. 

Three sixth grade boys ditch school in order to save themselves from trouble. However, with teenage girls chasing them, a bag of drugs, and a party to get to, things are far from simple…

Co-written with Lee Eisenberg, Good Boys is the feature debut of director Gene Stupnitsky. Influences of earlier comedies are clear. Advertising for the film gives audience an indication of what to expect (from the guys who brought you Superbad, Bad Neighbours, and Sausage Party the poster promises). The film counts Seth Rogen among its producers. The premise combines elements of Superbad and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Yet thanks to the age of the protagonists, Good Boys offers an innocence which is endearing. 

The protagonists are well drawn, each distinct in personality but with plenty of chemistry. The filmmakers are wise to keep focus on these three, keeping older characters on the periphery. The camaraderie between the trio is very believable. Despite the focus on humour, there is a level of sincerity present. The film focuses on an age where there are a lot of changes. Good Boys explores this in a way that feels earnest but not overwrought. 

The jokes hit the mark almost every time. The combination of silly jokes, age-sensitive references, and crude humour is a winning combination. The dialogue is great; there are a lot of laughs to be had here. The physical comedy is also very good.  All three boys deliver great performances. Jacob Tremblay and Brady Noon are most convincing in their roles. But it is Keith L. Williams who really shines as Lucas; hopefully he will have a bright future. 

At ninety minutes, the film does not overstay its welcome. Well paced and a lot of fun, Good Boys will put a smile on viewers’ faces. 

Film Review: 21 and Over

21 and Over

21 and Over is pretty standard college-based comedy fare. Whilst there are some laughs, they are not enough to make the film really memorable.

Jeff Chang’s best friends from school, Casey and Miller, surprise him on his 21st birthday. The pair have a big night out planned, but Jeff has an important medical school interview the next morning. Casey and Miller suggest a few drinks, but this quickly descends into something else…

From the writers of The Hangover, the parallels between the basic premise of the 2009 hit and 21 and Over are abundant. The narrative features standard mishaps. There is not  a whole lot of originality in Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s film.

There are laughs in 21 and Over, although the film does rely upon crude humour. The dialogue apes the quick-fire insulting of Superbad, although it isn’t as successful. Some of the derogatory remarks hit the mark, while others appear a little tired.

The second half of the film ushers in a little seriousness in terms of the motivations of the main characters. This plays out in a rather schmaltzy manner. In attempting to inject some sincerity into the story, the filmmakers call for a depth that simply is not there. This is not a huge hindrance, but the attempted emotion adds nothing to the overall plot.

21 and Over features the requisite elements of the  American young male comedy. The soundtrack is integral at times; with the party sequences being raucous.

Performances in 21 and Over are fine. Sklar Astin and Justin Chon are believable as Casey and Jeff Chang respectively. Miles Teller is in danger of being typecast in this type of role however.

21 and Over adds little to the comedy genre. Those who go in will likely   know what to expect, and will probably enjoy the film as a result.

The Sitter Trailer

Above is the red band trailer for The Sitter, starring Jonah Hill. From the looks of it, The Sitter is lewd, crass and un-pc. In other words, the kind of humour that Hill did so well with in Superbad. The actor showed he can take on more serious roles when he starred in Cyrus, so it seems reasonable for him to return to this kind of comedy. The Sitter is due for release on 20th January 2012.

Film Review: Youth in Revolt

The tricky thing with comedy dramas is getting the balance right between the two genres. Err on the side of comedy, and risk creating characters that the audience doesn’t care about. Lay emphasis on the depth of characters and seriousness of narrative, and inevitably the laughs will be sparse. Youth in Revolt has a difficult time in marrying the two genres, thus it does not succeed too prosperously in either of them.

Michael Cera plays the central character Nick Twisp, a geeky but endearing virgin. By now, one thinks Cera would be worried about being typecast in this kind of role. Nonetheless, there is twist to proceedings; Twisp has an alter ego, Francois Dillinger, who eggs him on to do things the young teenage would usually never consider. Unfortunately, this facet does not make the narrative any more engaging.

Although there are a few humorous events in the film, these are not frequent enough to counterbalance the weak storyline. The characters are not absorbing enough, and this viewer at least was nonplussed to Twisp’s plight and the situations he gets into.

Youth in Revolt is not a terrible film. However, it is a disappointing endeavor, considering the promising cast. It lacks the belly laughs of Superbad, as well as the engaging characters that Cera’s earlier film promotes.