Good Boys

Good Boys is a throwback to the movies from the 70s and 80s where kids were presented like actual kids. Think of The Bad New Bears, for instance. These were movies with kids that cussed, smoked, got in fights. For a brief time in the movies children were treated like actual people. That faded and our look into the lives of kids became sanitized, and frankly boring.

Director Gene Stupintsky and his co-writer Lee Eisenberg have attempted to add depth to the experience of children by finding the right balance between child-like innocence and raunchy comedy. They do a pretty damned good job of finding that balance.

The film follows friends Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon). They call themselves “The Beanbag Boys” and they have just started sixth grade.  Max has been invited to the cool kids party, which will feature kissing, and begs an invitation for his friends as well. The problem is that none of them know how to kiss.  Initially they try to watch porn, but find it weird and confusing. They then decide to use Max’s dad’s expensive drone to spy on the teenage girl next door.  She catches them, and takes the drone hostage.

The boys must either recapture the drone or replace it before Max’s dad gets home. Failure to do so would lead to them being grounded and missing the party. These events set the boys on a quest that will see them crossing a busy freeway, locking a cop inside a convenience store, pulling off a drug deal, attacking a group of frat boys with a paintball gun and nearly getting killed more than once. 

Through it all they spew profanities, misunderstand sex, insult each other and basically act like actual kids act in the real world. It’s refreshing.

The film is produced by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, who we know from a lot of raunchy comedies about adults and Super Bad, their raunchy comedy about teens. This isn’t a rehash of ground the have already covered, but genuinely something new. At least, new for this generation.

The young cast is perfect. The three boys bring individuality to their roles. These feel like fully formed, fully realized people.  They don’t exist just as hangers for jokes, but seem to have internal lives, hopes, desires that we can understand. 

The supporting cast is well equipped for the material. Ancillary characters treat the boys seriously when that seems appropriate and treat them like children when the situation calls for it. Much humor derives from adults treating the boys like "good boys" when they should be dubious. For instance, when the kids claim to have drugs (which they do) and offer them to a cop, he sees the flintstones vitamin bottle and laughs them off. 

Good Boys is a funny and oddly kind of moving film.