Good Boys is not a kids' movie but it's one of the funniest things all year

A still from Good Boys. Picture: Universal
A still from Good Boys. Picture: Universal

Good Boys (MA)

Four stars

Parents who don't do their research may send their children to the movies these school holidays to see this MA rated comedy.

In case they're reading this first, they should know that it's about kids far too young to be doing so negotiating their way through our overly sexualised contemporary culture.

It's not that their kids won't have a great time.

This is probably the funniest film of the year, if not some years - it's that the un-diligent parent will be in for some mighty awkward conversations afterwards.

Despite its young cast and the similarity of its main storyline to any one of the films your kids might safely watch once the patently safety lock is activated on Netflix, this is a super-smart grown-ups comedy.

It's written and produced by Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen along with a bunch of filmmaking colleagues responsible for Superbad, Sausage Party and a stream of other gross-out gag films.

Like dozens of pre-teen American comedies before it, the film charts a group of young kids navigating life in an American Middle School.

Jacob Tremblay, Keith L Williams and Brady Noon are Max, Lucas and Thor - three best friends who still spend their time playing card games and hanging out.

Max is on the cusp of an interest in girls, Thor is in denial about his love of musical theatre, while Lucas is the happiest of the three to hang on to his childhood as long as possibly, especially since mum and dad (Retta and Lil Rel Howery) have announced their divorce.

Keith L Williams has a high-pitched falsetto scream he emits though the film and he is without a doubt the find of the film.

He is 12 with a resume longer than most adult working actor and I can see a bright future in front of him.

When the trio get invited to a party at one of the home of one of the school's popular kids, the plot kicks off.

This is a 'kissing party' and the boys start sharing the rumours they've heard about sex and other grown-up matters.

Concerned they should brush up on their kissing techniques, the boys steal Max's dad's camera drone to spy on neighbourhood girls and borrow another dad's 'CPR doll' to practice on.

They swear, they experiment with adult concepts they misinterpret, and there's a Ulysses-inspired journey to retrieve some drugs for some older teens.

It's puerile stuff, and much of the comedy comes from giving such adult concepts and dialogue to too-young actors to perform.

In fact, the film's marketing features producer Seth Rogen giving the three young lead actors a lecture that they're too young to go watch their own film.

The chemistry between he three leads is terrific, but the writing is the star.

Lee Eisenberg and writer-director Gene Stupinsky cut their teeth on the US version of The Office and more recently on the cable series SMILF.

Though this film features a young cast and hard-core comedy, it has a warm heart and a smart sense of morals.

But pretty much everything I've written above over-intellectualises a film that should just be taken in and enjoyed.

Ultimately, a film like this is just dumb stupid giggles to be enjoyed with friends.

In other words, one of the best types of film currently screening.

This story Dumb, silly and totally hilarious first appeared on The Canberra Times.