‘Good Boys’ Is a Raunchy Comedy for Our Changing Times
12 years after a trio of high school seniors got into a load of shenanigans in their quest to lose their respective virginities in the comedy “Superbad,” Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg look to a new generation with “Good Boys.” The lifelong pals, along with “Superbad” star Jonah Hill, have co-produced this raunchy comedy starring none other than Oscar-nominee Jacob Tremblay as Max, a sixth-grader dealing with raging hormones and his evolving friendship with best friends, Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams).
In a nod to “American Pie,” “Good Boys” opens with Max on the verge of masturbating before his dad (a hilarious Will Forte channeling Eugene Levy) intrudes. At first, it’s a bit jarring to see Tremblay, who’s best known for playing Brie Larson’s son in the abduction drama “Room,” throwing around the f-word and taking about how horny he is, but it’s not so weird when one takes a moment to reflect on their own behavior as a tween. Of course, we all mature at different rates, and while Max is hung up on the idea of having his first kiss with crush Brixlee (Millie Davis), Thor has his sights set in nabbing a part in the school musical — That is, until his friends convince him it’s lame. Lucas, meanwhile, is grappling with the impending divorce of his parents (Lil Rell Howery, Retta).
The story kicks into gear after Max is invited to a “kissing party” by cool kid Soren (Izaac Wang). Max has to convince him to let him bring his pals, something he keeps from them. To prepare for the big event, the boys take a day off school, but what they don’t anticipate is having to replace Max’s dad’s expensive drone after they make the mistake of using it to spy on a pair of high school girls, Hannah (Molly Gordon) and Lily (Midori Francis). The boys’ intention here isn’t so much to objectify the young women, but to catch one of them making out with her boyfriend so they can learn how’s it done. Hannah and Lily turn the tables on the boys, eventually becoming misguided mentors of sorts, not unsimilar to the cops in “Superbad.”
Times have changed, and instead of being hindered by what some may view as political correctness, director Gene Stupnitsky, who co-wrote the screenplay Lee Eisenberg, uses it to milk out more humor. For example, when Max goes to practice kissing on Thor’s parents’ lifesize sex doll (they think it’s a CPR dummy), rule follower Lucas makes sure he asks this Brixlee stand-in for her consent first. And the cheer-worthy centerpiece scene involves the trio taking on toxic masculinity in the form of a house full of oversexed, entitled frat guys. Another highlight of the film is a cameo by Stephen Merchant as a card collector who swears he’s not a pedophile.
One drawback of “Good Boys” is that its R-rated may prevent it from being seen by much of its target audience, at least in the theater. However, parents may want to consider chaperoning young teens, because there are some positive messages here about staying true to oneself. Not only that, young people can also take something away from what happens with the boys’ friendship, as they learn to be okay with pursuing other relationships and separate interests without breaking their bond.
“Good Boys” opens Aug. 16 nationwide.