There’s something that’s just naturally funny about young kids swearing like adults. Add to that them (unknowingly) playing with sex toys and it
kinks kicks things up to a dangerous level! Good Boys is a hilarious but sweetly touching movie about a group of friends that are living examples of why the term ‘tween’ was coined.
Stuck In The Middle
The film follows three besties entering sixth grade, the start of middle school: Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon), and Lucas (Keith L. Williams). They call themselves the Beanbag Boys because they have beanbags to lay around on. Very elementary school, as are many of their hobbies: riding bikes, playing fantasy card games, etc.
Max is the first to discover girls, the closest one to being ‘cool,’ and gets invited to a party where there will be kissing. He gets his other friends invited too, the only problem is, they have no clue how to kiss. It seems their vocabulary exceeds their age but their amorous experience does not.
Their ‘research’ into the subject is laugh out loud funny. Everyone in my theater was verbally amused. It takes them to the internet and the moral dilemma of lying about being 18, plus their first exposure to non-kissing intimacy. The fact that they know of sex in theory but not in practice is just one of the times they find themselves in a valley between childhood innocence and junior high scandal! I could write a psychological study on their individual problems (divorcing parents, suppressing your gifts). And while all those elements could easily have become stereotypical places for the story to get stuck, they serve to inform their background for the audience, without dominating the main feature of the movie, which is their changing relationship with each other.
Along the way they crash Max’s dad’s drone, and that’s gonna get him grounded and force him to miss the kissing party and lose the love of his life forever. They embark on a quest to replace it that has the crossing paths with older girls, stealing their drugs, frat boys at a frat house, and an exhausted cop in a convenience store.
It shows the strength of their bond, but also pushes it to the limit.
What’s awesome about this film is the way it reminds you of that time in your life. The urgency of everything. Your best friends forever will really be with you forever. To kiss the object of your affection who will obviously be your spouse one day. To score a beer and drink an unprecedented FOUR SIPS! Everyone simultaneously being the most important thing in the world. Ever!
Good Boys lives up to the title. These kids are good, but trying to find their place. And we know their paths will diverge. None of their classmates are bad, they’re just as insecure as every other 12 year old. That’s another thing that makes this film special. It doesn’t have straight up stereotypes (though the anti-bullying squad comes pretty close).
But the movie keeps it real and honest. It’s billed as Superbad for middle school, and that’s accurate. But there are also nods to Stand By Me in their closeness and the journey to replace the drone, and to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in the race to beat Max’s dad home. The movie is also set in suburban Chicago and a couple of supporting characters are ditching school to go into the city. Seth Rogen is a producer on this, and would make John Hughes proud.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
A generic beer, served at room temperature. Drink more than four sips, and you’re officially a Rock Star.