Sixth grade can be a weird time for kids. Good Boys makes light of that awkward phase with a lot of humor, but to mixed results. While it’s all about young kids, this is most definitely not a movie for kids.
Max (Jacob Tremblay) is a pretty average 12-year-old. He gets along fine with his dad (Will Forte), is starting to like girls, and loves to hang with his two best friends. Lucas and Thor (Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon) are typical kids too. Just as the movie starts, they’re at the beginning of sixth grade, with nothing new to report. That is, until Soren (Izaac Wang) invites Max to a kissing party with girls at his house one Friday night.
In an unnecessarily complex plot, the boys conspire to see what kissing actually looks like, which leads them to stealing drugs from a couple of teenage girls. The rest of the day then takes them to the far corners of their hometown to solve a variety of problems that they themselves have created, so that they can make it to the kissing party without getting grounded. Never mind how absurd or unlikely all these incidents are; Good Boys is not concerned with cohesion or plausibility.
What the movie is concerned with is laughs, and it gets plenty of them. These boys think they should be growing up much faster than they are. They know that porn exists and is taboo, but they don’t know what it looks like or why guys watch it. They’re at the age where Google searches lead to more questions than answers. The best moments in the film come from when the boys encounter sex toys or language they don’t understand and try to make sense of it all.
The humor is unfortunately also one of the bigger problems in the movie. Sure, anal beads are funny. But by the time we get to the third round of anal bead jokes, it’s obvious that the breadth of the humor here is, in fact, quite narrow.
Even with all these jokes at the expense of the kids’ naiveté, Good Boys isn’t mean. These kids really should not know about all the things they encounter on this crazy day, and the film never looks down on them because of their age.
When Good Boys hits its mark, the movie is hilarious. It would be a much better experience to watch if it did that more.