If we're lucky, in any given year there will be one comedy released that is truly hilarious and stands a chance at becoming a classic. We've got a long year ahead of us, but we very well may have that movie in Good Boys, which recently made its debut at SXSW. And if another emerges on its same level, it's going to be an amazing year for comedy. This R-rated coming-of-age tale turns a group of 12-year-old boys into foul-mouthed, honest representations of adolescence that are full of heart and will not only make you laugh for 90 minutes straight, but will also completely win you over with their undeniable charm.
Good Boys centers on a group of three friends who are invited to their first kissing party, shortly after entering the sixth grade. Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) embark on a quest to learn how to kiss before the party. So, they decide to try and spy on their teenage neighbors and attempt to catch them making out and, naturally, things go very, very wrong. While attempting to set things right, these three find themselves on a quest that leads them to all sorts of insane situations, like shooting paintball guns at frat bros, unwittingly coming into contact with drugs and getting themselves on the wrong side of the law.
There are so many coming of age movies out there. Even the ones that focus on young people are often in their teens. Not to say they don't exist, but I can't personally think of one that focuses on kids at this specific age. And I certainly can't think of one that's this delightfully inappropriate. So much credit goes to director Gene Stupnitsky, who wrote episodes of The Office and Bad Teacher and makes his feature directorial debut here. However, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the team behind Superbad, amongst many other things, have put their stamp on it as well and it feels very on-brand for them in the best of ways.
This movie delights in its inappropriate nature by making these young boys do filthy, bad things, often times without even realizing it. But it's so honest below the surface and that's why it works. It's so much about the audience being in on the joke when these boys aren't. Why would they know what sex toys are for? Why not use them as weapons against someone who might be a creep that they're trying to sell something to in order to get themselves out of trouble? It strikes a fantastic balance of being deeply funny for its entire runtime without every dipping off, while also being a delightfully true look at that point in one's life. I've never missed being that age so much, while simultaneously never wanting to go through that again, all at the same time.
There are plenty of fine supporting performances to go around, but it's the trio of Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brandy Noon that are here to win everyone over. Much like the kids from Stranger Things managed to do, there's something totally magnetic about these young actors that makes the audience love them instantly. They're hilarious, sincere, charming and all have their own, distinctive star quality. Together, they are the engine that drives this movie to greatness. This premise was always going to live or die by the kids at its center and the filmmakers nailed that element with amazing precision. Tremblay, specifically, is someone we've come to know as he's grown up on screen before our eyes and seeing this sweet kid from Room dropping F-bombs left and right and doing so many other messed up things I won't spoil here adds something especially delightful in its own, messed up way.
I often do my best to be objective about these things and try to guide potential moviegoers to what might best suit their tastes. In this case, I fail to see how anyone could watch this movie and not have an absolutely wonderful time. I suppose if someone is easily offended by bad language and seeing kids do terrible things, then yeah, avoid this at all costs. Otherwise, make sure to have this on the old calendar. The only bummer is that Universal Pictures isn't releasing this until August for the world to see. I simply can't wait for everyone to see Good Boys and know what I know now.