In 2007, writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg unleashed the high school comedy SUPERBAD. The film immediately became a new coming-of-age classic, with Jonah Hill and Michael Cera playing characters loosely inspired by the writing duo’s own experiences. The hilarious and surprisingly sweet film modernized the genre.
Now, more than a decade later, Rogen and Goldberg have returned as the producers behind another coming-of-age comedy. Rather than going back to high school, however, GOOD BOYS explores another pivotal time in a young person’s life: Sixth grade. With a trio of charismatic young stars and a comically absurd plot, GOOD BOYS is every bit as hilarious as SUPERBAD, and twice as cute.
GOOD BOYS is written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, who previously worked on NBC’s “The Office.” In addition to co-writing, Stupnitsky also directed the film, which stars Jacob Tremblay (THE BOOK OF HENRY) as Max; Brady Noon as Thor; and Keith L. Williams as Lucas. This trio of best friends calls themselves The Bean Bag Boys. They’re definitely not the most popular kids in school, but, like most kids, they want to be. Max wants that popularity more than most.
So, when the opportunity arises to attend a party hosted by Soren (Izaac Wang), the coolest kid in school, Max is thrilled. It’s not just any shindig, however. Soren's soiree is a kissing party, which means these guys have to learn how to kiss before they can even think about showing up at Soren’s house.
GOOD BOYS has a fundamental comedic appeal: Three sixth-graders get into the sort of trouble typically reserved for high school kids. The misadventure begins when Max borrows his dad’s valuable drone to spy on two teen girls, played by Molly Gordon and Midori Francis. This plan almost immediately goes awry. When the boys lose the drone, they skip school and hatch a plan to retrieve it before Max's dad can figure out what happened. What results is a series of increasingly insane situations involving a Craigslist pervert, illicit drugs, and pure physical danger. It's the stuff of nightmares for most parents, but it all makes for great comedy.
While these situations are inherently funny because they involve 11- and 12-year-old kids, GOOD BOYS is every bit as sweet as it is funny. Beneath all the bad behavior is a story about friends growing up and potentially growing apart. Writers Eisenberg and Stupnitsky find clever and cute ways of exploring this idea, with the same absurd sense of humor that made "The Office" such a hit.
Joining the young cast for the ensuing shenanigans is a cast of very familiar faces. Max’s dad is played by SNL vet and “The Last Man on Earth” star Will Forte, who also plays a dad in this year’s other great coming-of-age comedy, BOOKSMART. “Parks and Recreation” favorite Retta and GET OUT breakout Lil Rel Howery play Lucas’ parents. Their impending divorce takes an all-too-real (and very funny) toll on their son. Additionally, a few notable supporting stars show up, including Sam Richardson (“Veep”), Michaela Watkins (“Casual”), Stephen Merchant (LOGAN), and writer Lee Eisenberg. Together, they create a winning comedy that will have you rethinking all your assumptions about the behavior of sixth-graders.
All images courtesy of Universal Pictures.