The titular “Good Boys” are the Beanbag Boys (so called because they hang out and sit on beanbags, obvs…), Max (Room’s Jacob Tremblay), foul-mouthed Thor (Brady Noon) and sensitive Lucas (Keith L. Williams), a trio of nerdy geeks who’ve just entered the sixth grade and are keen to be liked by the popular kids, particularly the Arctic cool Soren (Izaac Wang). 

When Soren invites Max to a ‘kissing party’ that his crush, Brixlee (Millie Davis), will be attending, he panics – he doesn’t know how to kiss! – and enlists his fellow Beanbag Boys to help him find out. After looking up porn on the Internet spectacularly fails – “They didn’t even kiss!” “Well, not on their mouths.” – and practicing on Thor’s parents ‘resuscitation doll’ teaches them nothing, the boys decide to use Max’s father’s expensive drone to spy on the teenage girl next door and her boyfriend.

But when the drone is accidentally destroyed the Beanbag Boys are going to have to man up and skip school, embarking on an epic adventure that’ll see them on the run from two teenage girls over some stolen ecstasy, battle a frat house, threaten Stephen Merchant with some sex toys, steal beer and risk not only their friendships but their lives as they try to replace the drone and get Max to the kissing party before he’s grounded for life…

As pant-wettingly vulgar as it is deceptively sweet, he may not have written it but the ribald DNA of producer Seth Rogen is splaffed across Good Boys, a coarse, profane but essentially sweet-natured hymn to growing up, growing apart and the pains of pubescence. Basically it’s pretty much a Superbad prequel but with a trio of smart, funny, adorable 12-year-olds rather than a creepy Jonah Hill (Jonah Hill is ALWAYS creepy!); the raunch and slapstick balanced with a naïve wonder that tugs at the heart. 

And that’s the secret to Good Boys (and arguably Rogen’s entire career…); every mean or dirty joke is cancelled out by childish dumbness or charming naivete. Yes, there’s running jokes about Thor’s parents’ sexual experimentation but when confronted by a sex swing the boys genuinely just think it’s a swing and gleefully pile on. Max gifts the object of his affections a necklace of anal beads even though they smell of ass. The boys repeatedly mispronounce cum as “coom” because that’s the way it looks. For all their foul-mouthed antics, these boys really are good boys.

As Max, Tremblay is as winning as he was in Room while Williams’ gentle geekiness as arguably the most vulnerable of the three is touching and sweet and Noon’s Thor is a swaggering, sweary wannabee alpha male who’s over-compensating for his love of musical theatre while Molly Gordon and Midori Francis are fun as the boys’ teenage nemesis’ who just want to spend the day at a gig and getting high, slowly morphing from bitter enemies into sage advisers.     

In the wake of the likes of Superbad and Booksmart don’t count out Good Boys. It’s practically a live-action South Park episode only with genuine heart. Only a stony-hearted curmudgeon could failed to be moved by the Beanbag Boys’ journey. A stony-hearted curmudgeon like myself because while I loved the film, genuinely loved the film, and laughed so hard a little bit of wee escaped, I never teared up. But that’s me; I’m a stony-hearted curmudgeon. A fat, younger (impossibly handsome…) Victor Meldrew. But my flat-mate? She laughed like a drain and sobbed her heart out!. And that’s why you should see Good Boys.

Movie Review: Good Boys
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