Good Boys is a raunchy tween adventure that will have you rolling in the aisles. The film is absolutely hysterical; ninety glorious minutes of nonstop laughter. Several colleagues showered effusive praise after seeing the premiere at the SXSW film festival. My expectations walking in were quite high. I am pleased to report that Good Boys delivers on the strong word of mouth marketing. It pushes the envelope with adolescent hijinks, but has a sweetness that tempers the raw vulgarity.
Three sixth grade boys from an Illinois suburb have a serious dilemma. They want to attend the kissing party of a popular classmate, but honestly have no idea what the actual act of kissing entails. Max (Jacob Tremblay) wants his first smooch to be with Brixlee (Millie Davis), a girl he's pined for from afar. The kindhearted and honest Lucas (Keith L. Williams) supports Max, but is devastated after learning his parents will divorce. Thor (Brady Noon) wants to sing in the school play, but feels he has to be cool to impress the popular kids.
Max is pressured into using his father's (Will Forte) work drone to spy on Hannah (Molly Gordon), his teenage neighbor. She and her bestie (Midori Francis) spot the drone, then easily capture it. Upset with the boys for spying on them, the girls refuse to return the drone. The boys concoct a preposterous scheme to get it back, which snowballs into a day of epic calamity. The self proclaimed "bean bag" crew are best friends. The boys will figure out this kissing business together.
Good Boys is produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the same team that made Superbad, Pineapple Express, and Sausage Party. The film is loaded with sexual gags, rampant cursing, references to drug use, and drug dealing. The difference here is that the primary characters are twelve years old. Normally, watching kids curse like drunken sailors and naively play with sex toys would be a bridge too far. What should be reprehensible bad taste is handled with a deft touch. The audience howls when the Good Boys confuse a sex doll for a CPR mannequin. The humor lies in their ignorance. The boys are innocent and react to the material as they should.
Good Boys mollifies the ribaldry with a concerted focus on civility towards women. The boys are not misogynists. They're curious about all things sexual, but understand the importance of consent. Kissing a girl is a two way street. They learn the folly of spying on their female neighbor. Her privacy needed to be respected. The odyssey recovering the drone becomes a significant growth experience. Friendships lead in all directions. The "bean bag" crew comes to realize they each have individual goals and differences. Good Boys surprises with a whole lot of heart.
Good Boys stars children, but is strictly meant for adults. Young Jacob Tremblay continues to chart an impressive path as an actor. His "bean bag" cohorts make an excellent ensemble. The boys are likeable protagonists, pulling off the crass antics without getting soiled in the process. Good Boys is a production of Good Universe and Point Grey Pictures with distribution by Universal.