Good Boys - B-
Rated R, 90 minutes
The bawdy, low-brow comedy "Good Boys" is essentially "Superbad" for tweens, which comes as no surprise given its producers, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, were writers on that film. With humor that will likely appeal most to the tween set (who will have to go with their parents to this, it's a hard Rated R), it also has some memorable lines and a decent message that almost manages to balance it out.
After being invited to his first kissing party, 12-year-old Max (Jacob Tremblay) is panicking because he does not know how to kiss. Eager for some pointers, Max and his best friends, Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams), decide to use Max's dad's drone, which they are forbidden to touch, to spy on a teenage couple who are making out. But when things go ridiculously wrong, the drone is confiscated. Desperate to get it back before Max's dad gets home, the boys skip school and set off an odyssey of epically bad decisions involving some accidentally stolen drugs, frat-house paintball, and running from both the cops and terrifying teenage girls.
It's best to go into the enjoyable "Good Boys" with the bar set pretty darn low, and you might enjoy yourself more than you might admit to. It's not exactly original and nor high art, but it's a pleasant time that'll remind of both the highs and lows of the 6th grade. Directed by "The Office" scribe Gene Stupnitsky in his directorial debut and co-written by Stupnitsky and fellow "Office" writer Lee Eisenberg, it's an adventure involving a drone, drugs and a kissing party; the three young leads here - "Room's" Tremblay along with newcomers Noon and Williams - have a solid chemistry that carries it slightly above its predictable premise.
On the flip side, "Good Boys" is one of those films that suffers from the fact that many of its better moments are seen in the trailer for the film, which has been in constant rotation lately on TV and online. It strives to mix a balance of a loss of innocence to boys being cool, to mixed results; it has some memorable lines only a 6th grader could deliver ("don't trust him, his Dad doesn't pay taxes!"), but then its script relies too heavily on stereotypes and profanity, evident in the film's first few minutes.
Speaking of which, some will not like that profane language coming from tweens, but it's also an unfortunate reality among boys of that age striving to be cool. The balance comes with a solid message that your friends from elementary school don't last forever, even those close ones you had from your own Bean Bag Club. Profane but with a sweet message, "Good Boys" is late-summer fun that'll almost make you yearn for the 6th grade. Almost.