By Chic DiCiccio
Some of the easiest movie jokes involve making young kids curse. Even “Avengers Endgame” did it with a cleverly placed s-bomb. For 90-minutes, that gag is the main thrust of “Good Boys.” However, the movie lives up to its title as nearly all the debauchery is done by three 11-year old boys who absolutely suck at being bad.
That is the beauty of “Good Boys,” an extremely hard R-rated raunchfest produced by the same folks (namely Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg) behind “Superbad,” “Sausage Party” and “Neighbors.”
The antics that the young trio get themselves into get crazier and crazier but stay firmly rooted in childhood innocence that is quite charming.
The self-titled “Beanbag Boys” are the more mature Max (Jacob Trembley), aspiring singer and wannabe tough guy Thor (Brady Noon) and the sweet, pure-at-heart Lucas (Keith L. Williams). Max’s crush on Brixlee (Millie Davis) puts an impetus on the three of them attending a “kissing party” at a super cool kid’s house, and their 48-hour adventure begins after hilariously investigating how to kiss.
Their follies include a bike trip to the mall, a stolen $600 drone, fighting fraternity guys and a neighborhood standoff with two high school girls, Hannah (Molly Gordon) and Lily (Midori Francis). There are a few subplots that involve divorce and the desire to fit in, which effectively keep the movie from being completely one-note.
Tremblay excels as the gang’s default ringleader, and he’s an extremely convincing actor for his age. Noon features in a very zany standout moment involving a far too adult stage production, and his singing voice is actually a great element of the movie. Williams completely steals nearly every second that he’s on screen with his over-the-top childhood honesty and fear of drugs, strangers, and, well, pretty much everything.
There are a handful of cameos that pump up the Q-factor, with Will Forte as Max’s dad being the highlight. Sam Richardson portrays a beaten, tired police officer that encounters the kids, and it’s potentially the funniest scene of the flick.
The knock on “Good Boys” is the direction from first timer Gene Stupnitsky, who also co-wrote the script with Lee Eisenberg. The pair were longtime writers for the American version of “The Office”, and the editing and camera work is very similar to standard single camera sitcom fare.
There are a handful of scenes that simply show one kid speaking lines, then cut to the reply and repeat. It does take you out of the moment repeatedly, particularly when the story turns melancholy.
That melancholy is what separates “Good Boys” from becoming a silly, pointless comedy. Throughout the movie, it’s clear that each of these best friends are maturing at different rates, and their interests are pulling them apart. Thankfully, there’s no big emotional catharsis, and it keeps “Good Boys” from getting too corny.
Considering “Good Boys” is really, really R-Rated and most 11-year olds won’t be seeing the movie, it needs that extra emotional kick for adults. That nostalgic feeling and the gags that land overshadow the lulls and jokes that fall flat.
This movie is destined to become a cult classic, beloved by current 11-year-olds in about seven years once they are old enough to see it and embrace it.