The 2019 summer adventure comedy film, “Good Boys,” manages to perfectly encapsulate the plight of an average middle schooler through wild and absurd antics. Every person who once was a preteen can remember fondly as well as be grateful that they are no longer 12 years old. Directed by newcomer Gene Stupnitsky, and produced by the always funny Seth Rogen, “Good Boys” follows friends Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon), who attempt to attend a “kissing party” hosted by the cool kids at school get caught up in a bizarre race against time and teen girls with the drug Molly.
While the plot does sound a little absurd, this South Park-esque movie successfully shows what many middle school based movies have failed to do so in the past: the fact that when you’re a preteen, everything that happens and everything that you do feels like the end of the world.
To fifth-and sixth-graders, being on the Earth for 11-12 years feels like you have finally made it big, that you have been around long enough to know it all and do it all. The characters say things with such certainty — everything is forever or never without any sort of in between.
Tremblay’s character Max even says with such confidence, “she’s a nymphomaniac! She has sex on land and water,” and of course his friends believe him since Max is the most mature of the group which obviously makes him the smartest about those kinds of things.
Not only do the kids think they are always right, but they also think they know best.
For instance, looking up porn to teach them how to kiss and running across a highway to get to a mall. The writers also accurately incorporate the thing that pre-teens do when they just figure out how to swear, they make sure to add at least two swear words into every other sentence, just to be sure that you know that they know how to swear.
The movie shows that the film really understood what it meant to go through the change of child to young adult and how that causes a shift in personal identities and goals that may not be on the same path as your peers.
Similar to films like Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart,” and Judd Apatow’s “Superbad,” the main pair of friends are challenged to think beyond their friend group and think about who they are as individuals. Each of the boys has his own hobbies and interests, Max is interested in girls, Lucas is interested in following the rules and respecting God, and Thor has a passion for singing.
As these passions grow with them, the kids have to come to terms with the fact that they are distancing from one another. The film raises the question that are the kids friends because they have similar interests and genuinely like each other or is it because their parents are friends and they live in proximity to one another.
The film is a sort of coming-of-age, except that it is understood by the end of the film that the kids have far more adventures left to go on and development left to be had.
Whether their adventures will be together is left up to the audience to decide for themselves when they leave the theater. This rather wholesome film will leave a nostalgic pang in your heart, not exactly wistful of the past, but allows you to chuckle about the silliness of your former behavior and mistakes you once made yourself at that age.