This has already been a great year for youth-centered comedy thanks to the wonderful and ridiculous antics featured in Olivia Wilde’s BOOKSMART, and we are now just a few weeks away from even more big laughs courtesy of some even younger kids. Rather than focusing on high school teens, the upcoming GOOD BOYS is about a trio of sixth graders — Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon) — but don’t let their age deceive you: This is a movie very much filled with adult themes. It may start by skipping school to get ready for a party, but things get far crazier from there.
The new movie — which is written by “The Office” veterans Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky and produced by Seth Rogen — follows a wonderful cinematic tradition of young children who make comedically excessive use of foul language. And with GOOD BOYS set to hit theatres on August 16, you have plenty of time to catch up on some of the greats. To help you on your way, here are five excellent examples.
The Bad News Bears
There are hundreds of underdog sports movies featuring plucky kids defying the odds stacked against them, but director Michael Ritchie’s THE BAD NEWS BEARS wonderfully exists as the antithesis of that particular genre. Not only does the story go in very different directions from the norm, but the kids that make up the little league roster aren’t so much “plucky” as they are foul-mouthed misfits. One could argue that we wouldn't have movies like GOOD BOYS today without this classic.
Now 22 years old, Chloë Grace Moretz is familiar to audiences as an adult actress starring in movies like GRETA, SUSPIRIA and THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST — but we’ll never forget her big breakout role as a 13-year-old costumed killer in director Matthew Vaughn’s KICK-ASS. Not only was the performance memorable from the impressive violence she doled out, but her language would not just make the proverbial sailor blush, but also want to cross the street.
Writer/director David Wain’s ROLE MODELS is filled almost exclusively with characters who swear, but the movie makes this list because of Bobb'e J. Thompson's Ronnie. He’s about the same age as the kids in GOOD BOYS, but that titular adjective wouldn’t be appropriate at all. The majority of Ronnie’s dialogue is expletive-laced insults, and most of the rest is in regard to his serious curiosity about sex. It’s weird, but it’s also hilarious and one of the most memorable and underappreciated comedic performances in recent years.
Part of the joy of director Andy Muschietti’s IT is the authenticity of the young central ensemble, with the characters behaving, and speaking, realistically for their age. Pretty much all of the kids swear in this Stephen King adaptation, but it’s Finn Wolfhard’s Richie Tozier who truly qualifies the movie for this list. It’s a much different kind of film than GOOD BOYS, but no less worthy of inclusion — as IT CHAPTER TWO will be, we expect, when it hits theatres later this year.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
This is admittedly an odd one, as the 8-year-old characters in SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT are voiced by fully grown men, but it’s being counted given that Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman are pop culture icons for being foul-mouthed grade schoolers. We expect to hear a great deal of cussing from Max, Lucas and Thor in GOOD BOYS, but it’s hard to imagine them getting anywhere near the total that the boys from South Park, Colorado, hit in 1999.
We’ll find out soon, though, as GOOD BOYS will be in theatres on August 16.