Kids today have the potential to provide vast intelligence with technology and forward moving ideals. Generation ‘Z’, dubbed by the public, have been seen going through their own motions in shows such as Euphoria, Stranger Things, Riverdale, etc. Good Boys, produced by the minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg,puts a staple of sixth grade thoughtfulness and silliness into the forefront by centering the story on friendships, growing up, and goals. The film’s Superbad element adds on to the drama by providing hardships, drones, parties, drugs, popularity, finding one’s place in school and, of course, sex.
Good Boys follows Max, Thor, and Lucas who sit in the land of being in-between and facing the social dilemma of popularity. However, aside from the Bean Bag Boys being together forever, Max is solely invited to a kissing party. Although his friends are described as “random”, he makes an attempt to bring them along, knowing full well this isn’t their type of crowd. When Thor and Lucas are in need, they provide help to Max achieve a successful goal of kissing his crush, Brixlee, and encouragement from her friend to jump the gun. The boys end up on a tirade of misconstrued scenarios starting with a visit to a pornography website and stealing Max’s father’s drone to spy on high school teenagers to get an idea of how to kiss. Absurdly, the plan fails with the boys destroying the drone and ending up with Hannah and Lilly’s ecstasy. Max, in avoiding being grounded, skips school with his buddies to get a new drone at the mall, as Hannah and Lily are in pursuit of them and the ecstasy. After a series of escapades, the trio reach the mall, only to discover Hannah and Lily purchased the drone in exchange for the ecstasy.
Having given up the drugs to a local police officer, the boys are able to steal drugs from Hannah’s college ex-boyfriend, Benji, and trade the drugs for the drone. However, Max fails in his goals when his father finds out about the drone and grounds him. This prompts an argument between the trio and they soon part ways, although Max takes full responsibility for everything and prevents Thor and Lucas from getting in trouble. When Lucas talks with his parents about the end of their friendship, they inform him they’re growing apart. Later that evening, Lucas convinces Max to sneak out to the party, tricking Max and Thor into a meet up. While Max succeeds in kissing Brixlee, Lucas and Thor re-encounter Hannah and Lily, who reveals she’s Soren’s sister, and they encourage Thor to continue his passion: singing. As weeks past, Thor lands a lead role in the school production, Lucas joins the school’s anti-bullying group, and after his relationships with Brixlee and Taylor, Brixlee’s friend, ends with heartbreak, Max starts dating his classmate Scout. Following the school performance, the three reconcile and promise to be in each other’s lives.
Dramatizing in a comical way what life for a Gen Z middle schooler is, Good Boys exemplifies a story of how friendships can change for the better (or worse). Heading into the tough hardships of acceptance within various dynamics, Max, Thor, and Lucas find their footing with those admire their individualistic ideals. Max has the goals being popular and wanting a girlfriend, Thor wishes to use his musical talents, and Lucas believes he’s in with the geek crowd. Their journey’s end while tantamount was going to be a focus losing one’s innocence since the beginning of the film. Albeit the crude comedy from the likes of Rogen and Goldberg stick out, the comedy plays smartly with the talent of Jacob Tremblay (Max), Brady Noon (Thor), and Keith L. Williams (Lucas). The strongest stand out came from Williams, whose performance was well-timed and worked to balance the critical moments as the glue keeping the Bean Bag Boys together. Tremblay, known for his roles in Room, Wonder, and The Book of Henry, has the most experience and has a levity of innocence, but with a dash of young Zac Efron meets Ryan Reynolds charm twinkling through. Newcomer Brady Noon brings a sense of drama, both literally and figuratively, and seems to be the most relatable with his aspirations and dreams. The supporting cast such as Will Forte, Molly Gordon, and Midori France fits exuberantly well and rounds around the dynamic. Although there are some hit and miss moments if one’s not paying attention, the film carries on without lack of laughter, the fears and hopes for 12-year-olds, and through transparency, keeps clear what life as a pre-teen today is like. Good Boys should serve as a mark for all audiences watching this R-rated comedy that while things change, kids will be kids.