Sometimes, a slight bait and switch is a good thing. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Good Boys was going to be nothing but utter filth. Sure, it’s a clear raunch fest, but that’s not the true tale of this film. They’re actually peddling a message here. Filthy as the humor is, it’s all tinged with childhood innocence and, believe it or not, a heart of pure gold. Tweens exist right at the intersection of childhood and the onset of adulthood, so this always had the potential to be funny. Well, it’s damn funny stuff, but actually has a heartwarming message about friendship to help make this far more than just a one trick pony.
The film is a comedy about a trio of, you guessed it…good boys, even if they think they’re sometimes bad. Sixth graders Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon) have always been best friends, dubbing themselves the “Bean Bag Boys.” When Max is invited to a kissing party by the cool kids, he gets his buddies invited as well, though there’s one issue here, which is that none of them know how to kiss. Hoping to connect with his crush Brixlee (Millie Davis), drastic measures are needed to avoid embarrassment. Searching on the internet for porn leads them down a very different path, so they opt to spy on Max’s neighbor Hannah (Molly Gordon), with his dad’s drone. Of course, the drone gets taken by Hannah and her friend Lily (Midori Francis), setting them off on an adventure that will involve drugs, danger, and of course, the dreaded kissing party. Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky penned the script, while Stupnitsky helms. Jonathan Furmanski handles the cinematography, Lyle Workman composes the score, and the supporting players include Josh Caras, Will Forte, Lil Rel Howery, Chance Hurstfield, Macie Juiles, Sam Richardson, Izaac Wang, Michaela Watkins, and more. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen help produce.
The balance of sex-related humor and charming tween innocence is an irresistible combination. Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon are incredibly effective as preteens at war with their emotions, hormones, and the world around them. The interactions between the three, notably when they’re arguing or debating what something sexual is, are a riot. So too are just the silly observations, like when they’re confused about health insurance and think they only have “deductibles.” That sort of humor is prevalent throughout the movie. The comparisons to Booksmart and Superbad are only superficial, as this is its own beast, for sure.
Good Boys is actually way more concerned with the trio’s friendship and what will become of that, as opposed to just doubling down on the filthy jokes. There’s plenty of the latter, don’t you worry, but the former takes precedence for Eisenberg and Stupnitsky. The duo get a lot of mileage out of their three leads, who each bring something unique to the table. Tremblay and his impossibly cherubic face just radiates kindness, even when he’s swearing up a storm. He’s also the best actor of the lot. Williams steals a number of scenes with the comedic potential of his need to tell the truth and respect authority. As for Noon, his character is closest to a stock one, but the intensity he brings to the table helps to set the role apart from lesser offerings in the raunchy teen comedy genre.
This Friday, audiences looking for some hearty laughs would do well to head out and see Good Boys. While the flick may not be on the level of the aforementioned Booksmart or Superbad, it’s still a wonderfully entertaining comedy, reveling in its low art status while being able to mix the silly with the smart. Give this one a shot and you’ll be sure to giggle all throughout…
Be sure to check out Good Boys, in theaters everywhere this weekend!