Loss of innocence made funny in ‘Good Boys’

Stupnitsky’s film finds hilarious, sentimental view of childhood navigation

Various movies depict the struggles of growing up in this crazy world, and recently, there is another movie to add to that list. “Good Boys,” directed by Gene Stupnitsky, brandishes this theme by offering audiences crude and raunchy humor with a sentimental learning twist.

The jokes come and go in the film, and, for the most part, result in a laugh — however, this hit or miss ratio is common of the production team that created the movie. Producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who have been known for their raunchy but sometimes sentimental humor in movies like “This Is the End” and “The Night Before,” push the limits a little further with “Good Boys.” The clear model for this movie is the similar story of teenagers trying to lose their virginity before heading to college in “Superbad.” While each film has its own laughs, it’s the human frailties that are shown and joked about in both of these movies that keep the audience entertained.

The frailties that are really hit upon in “Good Boys” come from the seemingly existential process of growing into a teen. One of the main struggles for boys that age is their size, which is very easy to pick up on through the main characters. Max, played by Jacob Tremblay, is one of the main characters, and he is constantly dwarfed by the others around him. The same goes for Thor, played by Brady Noon, who is about the same stature as Max — however, he talks a big game as the friend group’s most aggressive and cocky member.

Lucas, played by Keith L. Williams, is the biggest member of the friend group, which is given the name of “the bean bag boys,” and, at the same time, is the most collective and cautious.

“Good boys” follows the group as they freak out about starting the sixth grade, maturing with their bodies, being cool and, most importantly in their eyes, talking to girls. Each boy knows that their bodies, lives and friends are changing, but none of them are prepared for their new chapter in life. Figuring out these complexities is what gives the movie its charm and humor.

The jokes come and go in the film, and, for the most part, result in a laugh.”

— Cody Baumeister, Class of 2020

Max, Thor and Lucas are still kids, which means they have a limited understanding of the adult world that they are sent through by certain events. By accidentally breaking Max’s father’s expensive drone while spying on an older neighborhood girl to try to figure out how to kiss, the boys are put into a journey that ends up being a lot more adult in nature. Through the process of trying to buy another drone to avoid punishment so they can go to a party, the boys have to sell a sex doll, steal beer from a store, cause a pile-up on a freeway and destroy a frat house while acquiring drugs in the process.

As these events unfold, new characters are introduced that exacerbate the adult humor. Labeling the movie as having suggestive themes is an understatement, as it relies on the props to aid in the jokes. At one point, to escape from a police officer while stealing a beer, the boys used a large dildo to block a door from opening. Sex toys, drugs and alcohol are all mentioned and joked about, but the real gold is seeing the objects in the scenes as well. Mentioning sex toys is hilarious. However, it is even funnier when you see kids using them as weapons to defend themselves.

The movie is hysterical, but also carries with it some important lessons. As the boys go through their journey, they begin to realize that friendships are not set in stone. Those close to you during childhood may not be when you become an adult — a fact that hits each character in a different way.

Each boy takes this lesson to heart and develops his own interests. Max makes having a girlfriend his primary objective, which is shown by him going through a cycle of meeting a girl, dating her and then being dumped.

Thor goes back to pursuing his passion for singing and performing on stage, which pays off when he is the lead for his school’s musical. Lucas starts to define himself more with card games, video games and the respectful nature that he has cultivated. This opens the door for him to become a hall monitor that helps people who are being bullied, and allows him to befriend others who also have similar interests.

The boys eventually meet up again after a few weeks of doing their own things separate from each other. At this moment, they reminisce about what “the bean bag boys” used to be and what their friendships have evolved into. Before splitting up, Thor says he has something to show them. The ending scene shows the group playing on a sex swing, thinking that Thor’s parents just decided to put a swing in their bedroom. While teaching them that friendships change over time, the movie also tries to give the audience a little hope as the boys continue to have fun while getting in trouble all the way into the end of the movie.

Overall, “Good Boys” is a decent movie. It has humor, seriousness and action, but it is not an instant classic. The plot itself is way over the top, which is clearly the idea, but it takes away from the humor that the actors could provide. It is definitely a movie to see if in the mood to watch some bizarre events happen.