Film Review – Good Boys
Max, Thor and Lucas are indeed good boys, albeit good boys with filthy mouths. Best friends by default (same school, parents are friends, live within a two block radius of one another), they’re each facing their own struggles while trying to survive the sixth grade. Max (Room‘s Jacob Tremblay) breaks his father’s only rule and loses his beloved (and expensive) drone. Thor (Brady Noon) denies himself the one thing he loves, singing, in order to not stand out in school. Lucas (Keith L. Williams) is dealing with his parents’ impending divorce. And all three are invited to a “kissing party” they’re woefully unprepared for. Let the good boys roll.
Produced by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, performing another balancing act of the raunch and the sweet (hello Superbad), Gene Stupnitsky‘s Good Boys is something of an anomaly. The advertising certainly plays up their angle, sweet kids saying and doing very grown-up things. But there’s so much heart in this damn thing you often forget the hook that got your butt in the seat in the first place.
The adventure begins when Max “borrows” his dad’s drone in a bid to spy on his teenage neighbors, who surely must know a little something about kissing. Hannah and Lily (Molly Gordon, Midori Francis) catch him in the act which kicks off a running standoff when the girls realize their recently acquired molly is being held hostage.
Lucas is distraught that he’ll soon be celebrating holidays at two different houses while Poor Thor is trying to live down his newfound reputation as “Sippy Cup,” after failing to beat the cool kid’s record of consecutive beer sips (the record is 3.)
Having been an amiable, bullied kid just trying to find his place in the world/cafeteria myself (shocking, I know), I found the boys’ plights to be extremely relatable. In their bubble, the only ones they can truly rely on are one another, a bond hormones and jealousy are suddenly trying to tear apart.
The adults are mostly peripheral, but there is at least one standout moment for most of them thanks to the lively supporting cast. Will Forte scores big laughs as Max’s dad in the very opening scene, attempting to have a conversation neither he or Max appear to be ready for. Lucas’ parents (Lil Rel Howery, Retta) bring some levity and laughs in the scenes discussing their impending divorce, and Detroiters‘s Sam Robinson has a barn burner of a scene as a cop just trying to get some coffee when the boys put him in a number of precarious situations.
The most charming aspect of Good Boys, though, is in the little details. Max, Thor and Lucas are tweens and as such face constant obstacles we as adults take for granted. A running gag involving their inability to master a childproof cap is hilarious in its specificity. And oh how I yearn for the days when three sips of beer was a struggle.
Don’t be scared off by the “can you believe we got away with this?” tone of its trailers. Good Boys is one of the sweetest comedies in ages.