By: Kayla Caldwell
It has finally happened, my friends. Judy Greer has a leading role, and it’s in a movie you can stream right now on Hulu. GOOD BOY, from Blumhouse Television and Hulu series Into the Dark, is in celebration of Pet Appreciation Week. It follows Maggie (Greer), who adopts a rescue dog to help her deal with the stress and anxiety of life in Los Angeles (more specifically, Reseda). Of course, this is a Blumhouse production, so we know that’s not the end of the story. But we’ll come back to that later.
The script, written by brothers Aaron and Will Eisenberg, is so relatable, it hurts. It all begins with Maggie on an awkward dating app date, where the man seems immediately turned off to hear she lives in Reseda and not West Hollywood or something. When the topic of children comes up, the man is quick to say, ““I guess I haven’t given it much thought at this point. I mean, I’m only 36.” ONLY 36! If he were a woman, he’d be hearing doctors call his eggs “geriatric,” but sure. I guess if you’re only dating twenty-somethings then you never really have to worry about a biological clock. But I digress.
After this boob punch of a date, Maggie deletes the app in frustration, something probably every single woman using dating apps has done, countless times. She also almost calls a number labeled, “Are You Sure?” which I initially thought was a trifling ex. Relatable, though I’m a bit meaner with the labels I put on numbers I want to deter myself from calling. (Think: “EX☠️,” “Piece of sh*t, don’t talk to him,” etc.)
We later find out the number is for a clinic that freezes eggs, since, as mentioned above, being 39 means her eggs are already “geriatric.” So it’s time to get moving. She’s excited to be taking that step toward securing her dream future, when she gets pulled into a work meeting where she finds out - surprise! - her salaried (with benefits!) editor position has been changed into an “independent contractor” role.
Fellow writers know that particular brand of pain. But don’t worry that you’re not getting severance, because there’s a sh*tty breakfast spread for you on your way out. Maggie’s infuriating editor, Don (Steve Guttenberg), refuses to answer any questions about pay per article, new procedures, etc., but instead tries to placate her with weed mints.
Though Don is mostly patronizing and antagonizing, he does suggest Maggie consider adopting an emotional support animal. Initially, she’s pissed by the idea, but gives it a second thought to try to help with her anxiety. It’s there, at a local rescue, that Maggie meets Reuben (Chico the Dog), who is just as cuddly and adorable as he appears onscreen.
He seems off at first, since he doesn’t really want to play with any of his toys. However, a bond quickly develops between Maggie and Reuben, with the former picking up all kinds of “dog mom” memorabilia, from mugs to a bumper sticker that says, “My dog is smarter than your honor student.”
There’s a moment when Maggie holds Reuben’s two front paws, moving them back and forth like he’s dancing, as she sings to him. It's such an authentic representation of the goofy things you find yourself doing as a dog owner. I’ve done that maybe a hundred times. It makes the story more relatable and realistic. Maggie also looks at Reuben at one point and says, "You are the cutest medicine." I felt that.
Because of the restructuring at The Valley Yeller, journalist Maggie has to pick up work at a local coffee shop. That’s where she runs into Annie (Ellen Wong), a 26-year-old wellness influencer she used to babysit. She’s seemingly everything Maggie wants to be - young, beautiful, married, and trying for a child. Nonetheless, the two strike up a sweet friendship.
Of course, sweet, little Reuben doesn’t like all the time his owner has been spending outside of the house, whether it be for work or to hang out with friends. Maggie comes home one day to find the back of her door scratched to hell. But she gets over it quickly, because, I mean, have you seen Reuben?! He’s adorable - especially when the pair are wearing their matching pajamas.
One night Maggie re-downloads her dating app (Again girl, same), and matches with a realtor named Nick (Travis Schuldt), who claims he’s not interested in games. Too bad the only thing he meant by that was, let’s not waste any time before hopping into bed. This man is a mess. He won’t stop quoting his dating app bio, as if it’s a legally-binding contract, and he brought her to a house he didn’t even own.
He also talks a lot about how bad dating apps are and how awful men are… which is always a red flag. Empathy is nice, but if you’re talking to me as if you are a fellow woman going through the horrors of dating in Los Angeles, then, well, I’m just going to think you’re a con artist trying to prove to me that you’re a “good guy.” *Shivers.*
When Maggie excuses herself to go to the bathroom, she sees the trashcan - of the bathroom he does not own, in a house he is merely selling - is full of used condoms. If that weren’t bad enough, while she is in there, Nick can be seen lowering the age range on his dating app to 18-25, before proceeding to swipe through… all while Maggie is still in the house.
He doesn’t do that for long though, as the next thing you know his body is run over in the street, and poor, little Reuben is found covered in blood. Who would accuse such a tiny dog of such a crime, though? Maggie finds a way to make lemonade out of lemons, turning that tragic date into a viral article on The Valley Yeller’s website. Her boss is thrilled.
There’s a great scene with Maggie’s crooked landlord Bea (Maria Conchita Alonso), who tries to sneak in a rent increase by calling it a “parking payment,” and demands she get rid of her dog, despite him being an emotional support animal. Bea is shown in the bathroom of her apartment, before turning skeptically and asking, “What you doing here?” It hearkens back to classic horror tricks, as the camera doesn’t pan to show you who she is speaking to.
Meanwhile, it seems like things are looking up for Maggie, who meets an attractive man at her coffee shop job. Honestly, where is my Nate (McKinley Freeman), because writing his number on the back of the receipt like that was slick as hell. People continue to disappear from Maggie’s life though. It would be sad, if not for the fact that all of these deaths and disappearances coincidentally end up making Maggie’s life easier.
There’s a sweet shoutout to Into the Dark’s My Valentine when Maggie and her friends gather at a bar to celebrate her new promotion. You can hear “Trezzure Me” playing in the background. There’s also a very cute moment with Officer Fine (seriously, how attractive and charming do you have to be to make me like a cop right now?), who buys Maggie a puppy cam to keep track of Reuben. Let me just say, she was better off not knowing.
I’m hesitant to give anything away, because GOOD BOY is truly a fun ride. Greer is hilarious and charming, like she always is. Maggie is relatable and flawed, a likable character who does some not-so-likable things. Reuben is adorable and fearsome, a 10-pound terror you don’t want to mess with.
And even though Reuben turns out to be quite the “demon dog,” GOOD BOY still made me so happy to be a dog owner myself. I had to grab my own little nugget for cuddles while watching. So if you’re worried this movie will deter people from adopting rescues, let me assuage your fears.
GOOD BOY is a bloody delightful “careful what you wish for”-esque tale, and the perfect vehicle for Greer’s talents. Check out the macabre magic on Hulu, streaming now.