Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, Lil Rel Howery, Will Forte, Izaac Wang, Josh Caras, Millie Davis, Chance Hurstfield, Enid-Raye Adams, Matt Ellis, Lina Renna
Written by: Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky
Directed by: Gene Stupnitsky
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude sexual content, drug and alcohol material, and language throughout - all involving tweens
Running Time: 89
Date: 08/15/2019

Good Boys (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Kid Guff

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A six-grade version of Superbad, this comedy walks some shaky territory, but the naïve, angelic quality of the boys crossed with the broad, goofball, vulgar humor makes for a surprisingly sweet story.

In Good Boys, best friends Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon) — also known as the Beanbag Boys — have just entered the sixth grade. Max has a huge crush on Brixlee (Millie Davis) and is thrilled, and terrified, to be invited to a "kissing party," that she will also be at.

Determined to learn how to kiss, the boys ditch school and take out Max's father's drone to spy on two teen girls, Hannah (Molly Gordon) and Lily (Midori Francis), but lose the drone. While trying to get it back, Thor steals Lily's purse, which, unbeknownst to the boys, has illegal drugs in it. When both the drone and the drugs are lost, the boys must go on a journey to replace both, avoid being grounded, and make it to the party in time for the kiss.

Co-produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Good Boys deliberately walks in Superbad's footsteps (Rogen and Goldberg wrote that movie), but the twist is that the Beanbag Boys really don't know much about the world, and the chasm between their imagination and reality creates quite a few pretty good jokes. It's definitely shocking to see and hear such young kids swearing and talking about sex and drugs, but it's all actually a part of learning how to grow up and to belong.

The three boys make a great squad, teetering between playing kids' games and jumping headlong into the adult world (Stranger Things tackles the same, painful themes). They're interested in forbidden, grown-up things like sex and alcohol, but find them strange, shocking, and abhorrent when they actually come into contact.

Better still, when they have a knockdown, drag-out argument, it ends with all three of them in tears. Though they try to act a certain way, they are actually totally unfiltered, and refreshingly honest because of it. Good Boys is not a movie for kids, perhaps not even high schoolers, but it is for anyone who ever navigated the pitfall-laden labyrinth that is the end of childhood.

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