Rob Reviews "Good Boys"
True story: I was eleven once. For a whole year. And twelve too.
Due to this fact, I would like to tell all of you “grownups” that judging “Good Boys” as unrealistic, over the top, or gratuitous is pretty far off-base. “Room” star Jacob Tremblay plays Max, who along with his two best friends, Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon), are starting the sixth grade, which also means junior high and the most awkward time in a young man’s life for multiple reasons. They have been “The Bean Bag Boys” since kindergarten and are inseparable, so when Max gets invited to a “kissing party” where his full-on crush Brixlee (Millie Davis) will be, the boys wind up on a wild adventure that includes skipping school, drugs, two older girls on their tail, pain of every conceivable level, and SO much more.
Gene Stupnitsky takes his first shot at a feature director’s chair while co-writing the script, and really captures these boys’ adventures and personalities well. Not that he shoots them differently, but he is able to frame each one of them in a way that plays to their strengths both individually and collectively. The trio of leads play their roles to the hilt in a way that shows their characters’ innocence that kids their age have while figuring out who they think their world wants to see them versus who they really should be. From Max’s desire to be cool to Thor’s struggles with his passion for musical theater and Lucas’ forced adjustment to a domestic situation, their personalities all complement each other through a very strong story that had the audience I saw with laughing hysterically one moment and audibly “aww”ing the next, along with a few subplots that not only enhance and deepen the main characters but also do wrap themselves around nicely.
If there were any criticism here, it would be the third act of the film, that just seems to wrap everything up quickly. Not in the last “Fantastic Four” film kind of way, but taking the time to build up these characters to what seemed like an abrupt ending confused me a bit. The story DOES have the sense of finality to it that is required, but it’s not so much about its destination as it is about its journey.
“Good Boys” is not necessarily a film that would warrant multiple viewings, but it could be seen with others seeing it for the first time in order to watch them reaction to the material in it. And remember: no matter how much you think YOUR kids at that age don’t talk to each other in the way that the Bean Bag Boys do… TRUST ME, they do.