This week's Cinema reviews
GOOD BOYS (15)
Good boys go bad in director Gene Stupnitsky's potty-mouthed coming-of-age comedy, a haphazard misadventure in the company of three pre-teen pals on the precipice of puberty.
Producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg traversed similarly messy territory in Superbad with older characters on the verge of college.
In Stupnitsky's script, co-written by Lee Eisenberg, the unsettling transition from fifth to sixth grade provides a loose dramatic framework for lurid life lessons for a cherubic trinity (Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L Williams), whose hilariously misinformed understanding of (the opposite) sex has been gleaned from playground hearsay.
For these Good Boys, the forbidden fruit of an internet search for pornography on a parents' laptop has yet to be tasted.
The script relies heavily on adult toys for laughs and the novelty of these items in the hands of unsuspecting tykes does wear thin.
The most beautiful sight in the world is the inquisitive face staring back at you in the bathroom mirror.
That's the key learning of UglyDolls, a well-intentioned journey of self-acceptance based on the popular line of toys created by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim.
Kelly Asbury, who sang from a similar song sheet as director of Shrek 2, delivers this sharp riposte to airbrushed and filtered 'perfection' through computer animation and a soundtrack of anodyne pop ditties penned by Christopher Lennert and Glenn Slater.
The film defies its own key tenet and joins a herd of glossy coming-of-age fables, which warn bright young minds against judging themselves by appearances.
Unblemished conformity should never be put on a pedestal above compassion and kindness so it's extremely disappointing that Asbury's picture doesn't wear its heart on a digitally-rendered sleeve.
Rating: Two stars