ST. LOUIS — Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon), and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) are inseparable allies in the treacherous world of modern day sixth grade.
Max is smitten with a girl in his grade, so much that her wringing out her retainer renders him useless. Thor wants to sing in his class recital, but fears the backlash from the cool kids. Lucas is all about rules and regulations, because it's a fleeting myth at home with mom and dad.
When Max has the opportunity to attend a "kissing party," the three boys freak out and must come together to navigate the freaky circumstances of free-pubescent knowledge, experience, and the ultimate fear of catching a glance of the end of innocence.
More than likely, I'm making Lee Stupnitsky's 'Good Boys,' which is produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, out to be more than it really is, which is a sixth grade version of Superbad. That film was also produced by Rogen and Goldberg, starring a yet-to-break-out Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. It was stuffed full of deplorable profanity, inhumane acts, and was an adventure film involving a few kids trying to have the time of their lives while remaining friends. It was wicked fun and fresh to the senses.
Fact: 'Good Boys' is nowhere near as good as that film, but it is a mostly funny flick if you don't expect world-changing plot threads, character development, or laugh-out-loud comedy. Neither of the central characters here are truly memorable, each fitting into a cinematic caricature that is will seem familiar to the eye of the film-addict. Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg's script tries very hard to be original, going to otherworldly extremes to get these kids to spit out the worst batch of words that would make any level-headed parent scream at the top of their lungs in desperation. After a few funny scenes, the effort is evident.
What does work is the chemistry between the three leads. While neither actor stands out, the trio do get into some fun situations, including a freeway crossing involving a mannequin, rush hour traffic, and a drone. A chase between the kids and a pair of teenagers (Molly Gordon and Midori Francis) is funny and well-filmed. You believe in these three just enough to withstand the relentless onslaught of curse words, lewd behavior, and familiar make-up of their overall scheme.
Lil Rey Howery (Get Out) and Will Forte have their moments, but aren't around that much to make a real dent. This film needed some veteran support to help take the pressure off the leads. Tremblay is a talented young kid, but doesn't have much to do here in terms of performance. When he and the other two try to give it a performance, I don't buy it.
If I were you, don't expect the world when watching these 'Good Boys.' The wise idea is to put yourself in their shoes and just hope for the best, which is a fairly decent time and a few good laughs. The movie doesn't waste your time or money, but seems to be overrated as it exits the gate at the theaters.
I didn't fall out of my chair laughing like I did at 'Bruce Almighty' or 'Wedding Crashers.' I won't be repeating phrases from the movie, like I did with Anchorman. I don't want to party with any of the adult characters in this comedy.
'Good Boys' is satisfying enough while also being forgettable. I'd recommend it, but wouldn't demand you to see it right at this moment.