Film Review: Good Boys

Produced by Seth Rogen and his cronies, this deliberately coarse comedy plays like a juvenile Superbad, although it doesn’t quite hit those hormonal heights.

Coming complete with a specially-filmed trailer where Seth amusingly informs his undergraduate star trio that they’re too young to see the movie they’re actually in, it’s a foul-mouthed, at times pleasingly rude small-scale epic that loses something, perhaps, as its protagonists stretch credibility. After all, no pre-teen in this day and age is THAT naïve.

Shortly after entering sixth grade, three longtime besties – ‘The Bean Bag Boys’ – are facing the sort of not-quite-grown-up problems kids deal with all the time. Shy Max (played by Jacob Tremblay from Room and Wonder) quietly adores classmate Brixlee (Millie Davis) but can’t talk to her, the supposedly tough Thor (Brady Noon) wants to follow his passion for singing but fears being a “social piranha”, and hopelessly honest Lucas (Keith L. Williams) is dealing with his funny parents’ imminent divorce.

The three have a powerful BFF bond (much as Jonah Hill and Michael Cera did in Superbad) but it’s being tested as they get older, and a major drama unfolds when they’re invited to a party at the home of cool kid Soren (Izaac Wang), even though he thinks Thor and Lucas are pretty “random”. Concerned that Max might wind up having to kiss Brixlee there and unsure how such a thing is properly done, they naughtily use a drone belonging to Max’s dopey Dad (Will Forte) to spy on the older Hannah (Molly Gordon), who often snogs with her awful boyfriend Benji (Josh Caras).

This somehow leads to the drone being captured by Hannah and her pal Lily (Midori Francis) and their pursuit of the boys, who have somehow unwittingly gained possession of a batch of ecstasy (a.k.a. “molly”) in a child’s vitamin container. And if that offends you, then it’s best you don’t even think about the jokes involving sex toys (“ah-nahl beads?”), tampons, underage drinking and so forth, and especially the iffy references to pedophiles when creepy Claude (Stephen Merchant in a cameo) turns up.

Helped greatly by nice performances by the adults (including Retta and Get Out’s Lil Rel Howery as Lucas’ parents) and the three central lads, this begins well with foul-mouthed energy to spare, but runs out of steam into the final act, and does seem a touch unlikely at times. Come on, really? 12-or-so-year-old-boys? And they’ve never looked at online pornography? In what alternate Canadian reality are they living?

Good Boys (MA) is in cinemas now

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